Posted by Editoress on 04/4/12
Day One of the 2012 Track Worlds saw two new world records, and a resumption of the battle between Great Britain and host Australia. The Brits have taken early bragging rights with two golds in Men's Team Pursuit and Scratch Race out of the four available on the first day, with Australia taking one in the Men's Team Sprint and a surprisingly strong German squad the Women's Team Sprint gold. Canada only had riders in the Men's Team Sprint, where they finished 11th, dashing the slim chance still open for an Olympic spot [See our report by Monique Hanley Here].
Men’s Team Pursuit Results
The much anticipated blue ribboned event, the men’s Team Pursuit, lived up to its expectation with a true battle producing a new world best time.
The British team of Geraint Thomas, Ed Clancy, Peter Kennaugh and Steven Burke rode the 4000 metre final in 3:53.295 seconds to defeat Australia and break the record posted by their gold medal winning squad at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Australia’s Jack Bobridge, Glenn O’Shea, Rohan Dennis and Michael Hepburn rode the third fastest time in history - 3:53.401 - for the silver medal. New Zealand took the bronze medal, ahead of Russia.
Women’s Team Sprint Results
Germany ended the three-year reign of Australia’s Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch in the women’s team sprint, setting a world record in the Qualifying round and again in the Final.
The German team of Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel set a new world record of 32.549 seconds over the 500 metres to pip the three-time defending champions by 0.048 seconds.
Meares gave Australia a perfect start with a 18.415 seconds first lap to hand a 0.231 second lead for McCulloch. But Vogel wore down McCulloch to clock 13.903 seconds for the final lap to win Germany its first gold medal in the event.
China’s Gong Jinjie and Guo Shuang repeated their bronze medal won in Apeldoorn from year before, beating Great Britain’s Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish.
Whilst the win for Vogel was no surprise, the world record was most unexpected.
“We thought the world championship would be possible to win. But from the past we thought we might have a chance at bronze,” Vogel said. "But that we set the world record twice is awesome. I never would have allowed myself to dream let alone think about it. And now we’ve done it and we just have to think about the future.”
Men’s Scratch Race Results
Great Britain's Ben Swift held off a fast finish from South African Nolan Hoffman to win Great Britain’s second rainbow jersey on the opening evening of competition.
The 24-year-old Brit took the lead in the back straight of the final lap in the 15 kilometre race to hold off Hoffman and Wim Stroetinga from the Netherlands.
Austrian Andreas Muller broke away with six laps left of the 60 to open a third of a lap lead. Czech rider Martin Blaha, Italian Elia Viviani and Swift chased down Mueller to catch him with less than two laps left before the British rider kicked to open a lead in the final back straight. Hoffman, around ten lengths behind Swift at the bell lap, turned the burners on the second last corner passing five riders, but Swift held on to win by a wheel.
Swift’s win was the first British gold medal for the event since it was introduced at the 2002 world championships, while it was South Africa’s first medal in the men’s scratch event.
“I knew somebody was going to attack in the finish, and just tried to play it cool and make other people chase. It’s definitely the hardest I’ve ever had to work for a track cycling race,” Swift said.
Hoffman was surprised by his efforts at his first elite world championships on the track.
“I’ve been to all the World Cups and I’ve struggled a bit, and I always thought the world champs is going to be hard,” Hoffman said.
Men’s Team Sprint Results
Matthew Glaetzer’s final lap in the men’s Team Sprint won Australia its first gold medal at the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships. Australia originally qualified for the bronze medal ride off but Germany and Great Britain were relegated from the finals after exchanging riders outside of the 15 metre zone that is permissible.
Glaetzer’s 12.903 seconds for the final lap of three hauled in Michael D’Almeida to pip the French trio by 0.001 seconds, covering the 750 metres in 43.266 seconds. Gregory Bauge gave the French team a 0.169 second lead at the end of the first lap, with Kevin Sireau maintaining the lead over Perkins after the second lap. The win by Scott Sunderland, Shane Perkins and Glaetzer was the first Team Sprint title by Australia since 1996.
An ecstatic Perkins, who was knocked off his bike on Sunday when hit by a car, recovered to produce one of the rides of his career.
“We came here wanting to do a personal best time for the team and we did that in the qualifying, and then to obviously to hear we were in the gold and silver ride off, our energy and excitement went up another level. It showed in that final we were pretty pumped. We knew we had the ability, we knew we had to bring our times down a little bit and we did that. Thanks for the guys for a fantastic ride, they did absolutely awesome,” Perkins said.
New Zealand won the bronze medal ride-off against Japan, its second third placing of the evening.
The relegation for Great Britain’s Sir Chris Hoy meant he did not win a medal in this event for the first time at a world championship in his career. Hoy missed the 2009 world titles due to injury but his medal tally from the men’s sprint dates back to the 1999 world title.
With files from the host press service.