Posted by Editor on 01/22/06
Day 2 Evening Session
Five finals took place on Saturday evening, Day 2 of the Los Angeles Track World Cup, the third round of the World Cup series. There were no surprises in any of the finals, with the strongest riders coming to the fore in each case.
Gregory Bauge (Fra) was the fastest rider in the men's Sprint, seemingly able to win at will, from the back or the front. He had a turn of speed a step higher than anyone else in the race, although it was his team mate Mickael Bourgain who gave him the most difficulty in the Final.
"I expected that the final would be Bourgain, so it wasn't a surprise that it worked out that way. It was important to do well in the 200 metre (qualifier) for a good position. All the rides took effort, but the last one, against Bourgain - he is really strong and experienced, so it became a mental game to be in the proper position."
The win is Bauge's first ever World Cup victory. "I'm very happy to win. I have been racing four years now, learning more and more how to race (on the track), and this shows that it is coming."
The United States took their second medal of the meet in the men's sprint, with 20 year old Michael Blatchford taking the bronze medal against Lukasz Kwiatkowski (Pol) in two straight rides. Kwiatkowski protested the second ride, arguing that Blatchford had ridden up into him coming into the third corner of the last lap, but the officials said that the outcome of the race had not been affected.
World Cup series leaders Russia took the Team Pursuit title against the Netherlands, while Spain beat New Zealand for the bronze. The Russians managed to knock 3 seconds off their qualifying time in the final.
In the women's 500 M time trial, world champion Natallia Tsylinskaya (Blr) added another win to the sprint title she took yesterday, with a time of 34.426. Tsylinskaya and silver medalist Shuang Guo (Chn) were the only riders to go under 35 seconds.
Sarah Hammer added another medal to the U.S. tally with adominating performance in the women's 3000M Pursuit final, against Maria Calle Williams (Col), the Olympic bronze medalist. Hammer looked for a while as if she might catch Calle Williams, but faded a bit in the final 1000 metres. With her win (and a second in Manchester), the local southern California rider took the lead in the World Cup series.
"I really wanted to win here and take over the lead, especially in front of the hometown crowd. I was pretty sure that I could do it, but you never go into these things too confident - you know; plan for second and hope for first. I was definitiely hurting towards the end, but I was able to hold it together because I could see her (Calle Williams) during the race."
Hammer's overall title isn't assured, because she won't be attending the world Cup final in Sydney, preferring to stay home and train for the world championships.
The evening ended with the men's 30 kilometre Points Race; 120 laps with sprints every 10 laps. Olympic champion Mikhail Ignatiev won with a consistent performance, steadily racking up points. He was one of four riders able to take a lap on the field, so it became important to take points on as many intermediate sprints as possible, and Ignatiev did this with ease, scoring points in four sprints, and winning two of them. Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) finished second, the same position as at last year's world championships on the same track, and Joan Llaneras (Spa) third.
"At first I didn't work or chase down anybody", explained Ignatiev. "Towards the middle of the race, when the Spanish rider took off then I started to attack. He was the most dangerous rider to me. The group broke up and we were chasing; I was at the front but I couldn't do it by myself. Four riders came up to me and we worked together to get back to the front."
Ignatiev had a busy night - riding in the Team Pursuit at the beginning of the night and then the Points Race at the end. He won't contest the final in Sydney, since he joins his professional road team (Tinkoff Restaurants) at the end of the month in Portugal for a training camp and races in February.
- Travis Smith was the only Canadian racing this evening, finishing fourth in the four up sprint four fifth through eighth. He got boxed in early in the race, and then seemed a bit hesitant in the final gallop to the line. "Maybe I was thinking about the Team Sprint (tomorrow)." he admitted afterwards. "But this is still pretty good for me, I'm able to be consistently in the top eight now."
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