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March 24/05 8:03 am - Track World Championships: Preview

Posted by Editoress on 03/24/05

We are about 2 hours away from the start of the Track World Championships, in Los Angeles, California. Normally, it wouldn't matter if the track was indoors or outdoors, this being southern California, but they are having a wee bit of rain down here - more than Seattle for the past month, actually - so it is good that we are inside.

The racing begins with three medal events, and Canadians are racing in all three. The Women's 500M time trial has Lori-Anne Muenzer, the Men's Points Race Martin Gilbert, and the Team Sprint (Cam MacKinnon, Yannik Morin and Travis Smith).

In the Women's 500M, pre-race favourite Kerrie Meares of Australia will not be competing, preferring to concentrate on the Sprint. Her sister Anna Meares will race, and is favoured, along with Natalia Tsylinskaya of Belarus. Other medal hopefuls include Victoria Pendleton of Great Britain, Elisa Frisoni of Italy and Guo Jang of China. Nancy Contreras (Mexico) has a chance, as does Canada's Lori-Ann Muenzer (Muenzer is concentrating more on the Sprint, however).

For the Men's Points Race, it is Olympic champion Mikhail Ignatiev (Russia) as the favourite, with U.S. rider Colby Pearce, Chris Newton (Great Britain), Robert Bartko (Germany) and Greg Henderson (New Zealand) also likely to take points. Ignatiev is off to a poor start, with a 100 Swiss Franc fine for forgetting his World Cup leader's jersey (he was given another to wear).

The favourites in the Team Sprint have to be the French - Gregory Bauge, Mickael Bourgain and Arnaud Tournant. Tourant has five world titles in this discipline. Great Britain (Craig McLean, Chris Hoy and Jason Queally) and Germany (Matthias John, Stefan Nimke and Rene Wolff) should make it to the medal round.

In other news:

- An announcement will be made tomorrow concerning a high profile stage race in California - the Tour of California. It is scheduled for February of next year.

- the Brits are very high tech. They were setting up a series of wireless meters all around the track which hooked up with sensors on the riders' bikes. This was downloaded in realtime to a laptop, and the coaches were able to follow speed variations from all points on the track. Incredible. Unfortunately, the UCI made them take it all down...

- The event will be beamed live back to Europe for every session, with commentators from France, Germany, Japan and other countries in attendance.


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