Posted by Editor on 03/25/05
Track Cycling World Championships - Los Angeles
The Track Worlds opened Thursday evening in Los Angeles with three medal events - the Team Sprint, Women's 500M Time Trial and the Men's Points Race. Canada had riders in all three events, but finished out of the medals.
Olympic Sprint champion Lori-Ann Muenzer finished seventh in the 500 metre individual time trial with a time of 35.217 seconds, nearly half a second behind winner Natalia Tsylinskaya of Belarus. Olympic 500 metre champion Anna Meares of Australia was second, and Yvonne Hijgenaar of the Netherlands was third. Willy Kanis (Ned) set the early fast time of 35.056, which held up through over half the field before Tsylinskaya demolished it. Hijgenaar was next and came close, but it was Olympic champion and world record holder Meares that everyone was waiting for. Meares, the last rider off, finished the first lap 31-thousandths of a second behind Tsylinskaya, and managed to pull back half of that in her second lap, but it wasn't enough, as the Belarus took her first world title.
" I'm not disappointed with this result." stated Muenzer. "I never put a number on what I expect to achieve, it is always full effort. I couldn't have gone any faster tonight. The women who won, they are the top-three consistently in the 500, so it was no real surprise. "
In the men's three man Team Sprint competition, the Canadian team finished tenth, setting a personal best time of 48.860 seconds, four and a half seconds behind the world champion squad of Great Britain. The Canadian squad was led out by Yannik Morin, with the eighth fastest time. Cam MacKinnon lost a little ground in the middle with the slowest split, but Travis Smith finished quickly (eighth fastest).
The riders were pleased with their effort:
Morin - "It is definitely our best race together. When we started this program it wasn't in the plan to do the Worlds this year. It is very promising for the PanAms (Argentina in April) - the team is young and getting faster every race, despite having only 7 weeks at the velodrome since Nationals."
MacKinnon - "I am definitely happy to improve on our personal best as a team. It shows a lot of promise for the future. The biggest improvement lately has been in our technical skills, in riding together, but a top-10 finish is what we were hoping for."
Martin Gilbert was the only Canadian entry in the third medal event for the day, the Points Race. Gilbert, competing for the first time in this event at the World Championships, scored points in intermediate sprints early in the race, but was lapped at the halfway point and did not finish.
"My speed wasn't high enough. I had 10 days of preparation before, but it is not enough. I was limited by my speed and could not follow the attacks. I knew that the speed would be high, so I did my best to prepare, but there is no indoor track (in Montreal), so I could not do enough to get speed for the world championships. It is a little bit frustrating, but this is my first worlds in the Points Race - it is a big difference from the Scratch Race.
Eventual winner Volodymyr Rybin (Ukraine) and Sean Finning (Australia) were in an early breakaway that took enough points for Finning to take the lead. Rybin kept scooping up points to take over the lead, and looked to be in control until a dozen laps to go, when a break by 2000 Olympic champion Juan Llaneras (Spain) and Ioannis Tamouridis (Greece) stayed away long enough to give Tamouridis a slim one point lead over Rybin. The Ukraine rider had to storm off the front of the pack to take three points in the final sprint to secure the title.
On Friday, racing continues with the Women's Sprint and Points Race, and the Men's Pursuit, Keirin and Kilo.
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