Canadian Cyclist


March 30/08 5:25 am - Track World Championships: Day 5 report

Posted by Editoress on 03/30/08

Track World Championships Manchester UK

Canada had two riders competing - Gina Grain in the Scratch Race and Travis Smith in Omnium. Smith finished 13th overall in the omnium after five events (200m TT, Points Race, Pursuit, Scratch Race and Kilo), and was second in the 200m TT. Grain finished in the field, in 14th place, in the Scratch Race.

The Omnium mixes both speed and endurance events, so it takes a true all-rounder to do well. Sprinters Ghislain Boiron (France) and Smith topped the standings after the first event - their specialty of the 200m - but quickly fell behind as the endurance events began. Hayden Godfrey of New Zealand was never really challenged for the overall lead, finishing 3rd, 1st, 4th, 7th and 4th in the five events. Leigh Howard (Australia) and Aliaksandr Lisouski (Belarus) traded second and third during the competition, but in the end it was Howard who proved to be more consistent. Indeed, without a relatively poor showing in the Points Race, he would have been much closer to Godfrey in the final results.

The 1000m time trial - the 'Kilo' - has lost some of its stature since it was dropped from the Olympic Games, and many top riders such as Chris Hoy no longer compete. However, the field was strong here in Manchester, with Dutchman Teun Mulder the fastest of four riders to go under 1:02. Mulder's 1:01.332 beat out the French duo of Michaël D'Almeida (1:01.514) and François Pervis (1:01.579). Local favourite Matt Crampton just missed the podium by a little over a quarter of a second.

In the women's Scratch Race it was the Dutch again, with Eleonora Van Dijk making a gutsy late move counterattack to Grain's earlier move. While the leaders all looked at each other, Van Dijk managed to get enough of a lead to cruise in 10 metres in front of the sprint. World Cup champion Yumari Gonzalez Valdivieso (Cuba) took the silver, followed by Australia's Belinda Goss.

Grain's mid-race move was the most dangerous of the race, as she joined Jarmila Machacova (Czech Republic) and Jessica Jurado (Mexico). Initially, the trio took the lead up to nearly half a lap, but as the chase grew stronger, Grain's partners could no longer contribute to the lead, and they were reeled in.

The women's Keirin was expected to pit defending champion Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain) against Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) and Reed. This three had finished 1-2-3 in the Sprint yesterday. All three made the final, along with 2006 world champion Christin Muche (Germany), Clara Sanchez (France) and Pendleton's young team mate Anna Blyth.

Sanchez led out the group, with Reed and Pendleton hanging off the back. When the lead moto came off the track, Reed immediately went to the front, only to be overtaken by Pendleton as they started the last lap. It looked like the third title of the week for the brit, but reed fought back, coming over the top in the final bend to win her first world title. Muche also snuck by Pendleton for the silver.

Race Notes

- Britain completely dominated the standings, with nine gold medals - half the total awarded.

- Zach Bell confirmed that it is pretty much certain that he will qualify for the Olympics in the Points Race.

- It turns out that the newly laid track was initially under regulation length by 17 cm, which would have nullified any world records. You will notice in the photo below that the black and red lines have been moved up one board each; they were painted in the wrong spots originally.

- Official results for the Women's Keirin were delayed due to the fact that 2nd and 3rd places finished so close AND the inside track photo finish camera was obscurred by the 4th place finisher. Officials had to overlay photos from both the inside and outside track cameras to put Pendleton ahead of Muche.


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