Posted by Editoress on 03/23/11
The 2011 Track World Championships opened today with five titles awarded. Canadians were entered in only one event, the Men's Team Sprint, with a very young team getting their first introduction to high level competition. They finished 18th. Belarus was the big winner of the day, taking two titles in the women's 500 metre time trial and women's Points Race. France won the men's Team Sprint, Australia the men's Team Pursuit, and Hong Kong took only the second world title in their history in the men's Scratch Race.
Men's Team Pursuit Photos
The three big teams for this event were Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand. All qualified for the medal finals, but neither Olympic and world record holder Great Britain nor the Kiwis made it to the gold medal round. Instead, it was an extremely strong Russian squad that went up against the Aussies. Great Britain easily beat New Zealand for bronze, but it was a seesaw battle for over half the race before Australia pulled away to defend their world title.
Men's Team Sprint Photos
This was a battle between France and Germany for the gold medal, with Australia and Great Britain battling for bronze - which the Brits took. Both France and Germany had problems with their first rider literally riding away from the other two (Bauge of France and Enders of Germany), so effectively it became a two man squad for both countries, with France the faster of the two.
Canada's squad was in the fourth heat, and completed their race in a time of 46.876 seconds.
Women's 500 Metre Time Trial Photos
There was a small field for this event, since it lost its Olympic status. The final rider off, Olga Panarina of Belarus, was easily the fastest to take the title, with perennial medalist Sandie Clair (France) taking silver and Miriam Welte (Germany) bronze.
Women's Points Race Photos
Defending champion Tara Whitten of Canada did not compete, saving her energy for the Olympic event Team Pursuit on Thursday. Also missing was her rival Sarah Hammer of the USA for the same reason. However, multi-time world champion Marianne Vos was racing for the home team.
Vos proved to be a non-factor in the race; unable to get away from the field to take a lap, despite multiple attempts. Czech rider Jarmila Machacova took the early lead with a lap on the field, however, Belarus rider Tatsiana Sharakova picked up a few points in sprints and then launched her own attack, successfully taking a lap. After that, Sharakova was able to mark her main rivals and cruise in the for the win. Machacova took silver and Italian Giorgia Bronzini bronze.
Men's Scratch Race Photos
Cameron Meyer of Australia was the overwhelming favourite, but he was heavily marked every time he twitched, and eventually gave up trying to get away. It was left to the young Hong Kong rider Ho Ting Kwok to attack in the final laps and stay away for a well deserved victory, as everyone else looked at each other. Italy's Elia Viviani took a flyer of his own to finish second, with Morgan Kneisky (France) winning the sprint for bronze.
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