Canadian Cyclist


August 19/08 6:37 am - Beijing Olympics: Track Day 5 photos, report and full results

Posted by Editoress on 08/19/08

Beijing Olympics

Photos from the fifth (and final) day of racing at the Laoshan Velodrome.


Men's Sprint Semi's and Final

Women's Sprint Semi's and Final

The track events concluded today with the Sprint finals for men and women, and the men's Madison. Great Britain added another two golds and a silver to its remarkable tally in the sprint events, but was shut out of the Madison, when the world champion duo of Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins failed to deliver. This opened the door for a victory by Argentina to score their first gold medal of the Games.


With only one exception, the semi finals for both the men and women were decided in two straight rides. The British riders all dispatched their opponents quickly and efficiently, with both Victoria Pendleton overcoming Willy Kanis (Netherlands) and Chris Hoy taking care of Mickael Bourgain (France) through sheer power. Seconded seeded man Jason Kenny (Great Britain) knocked Germany's Max Levy out of gold medal contention with come from behind bursts of speed in their two rides.

The last of the semi's, between Anna Meares (Australia) and the Chinese hope Guo Shuang took four rides to decide. Guo took the first, and Meares the second ride. In the decider, Guo slipped down the track, forcing a re-ride. The Chinese rider was actually first across the line in the closest race of the evening, but was relegated after dropping down on Meares in the finishing straight when the Australian had the inside line.

In the finals, it was no contest, with Hoy and Pendleton riding away from Kenny and Meares respectively to take the Olympic titles in two straight rides each. Guo took the bronze medal against Kanis in two rides, while it took Bourgain three rides to salvage French pride and put one French rider on the podium.

"A year ago I wouldn't have believed it," commented Hoy on his third gold of the Games. "It's such an achievement. All the build up of emotions that evaporated at the finish line. It's like nothing else."

However, he also pointed to Kenny as the rider he expects to take his place as the top sprinter in the world. "This is the man who's going to win it in London."

Pendleton was also expressing disbelief at finally winning Olympic gold. "I keep wanting to pinch myself, thinking I'll wake up. I knew my speed was good from the qualifier and first rounds, but I was such a mess because I wanted it so badly. I had to focus on the process to get through it."

Meares was ecstatic with silver, after battling back from injury. "I can't begin to tell you how much this means to me. Silver could be gold gold for me right now. It's been a tough run, for sure, but an amazing journey. To be seven months out from the Olympics and have a crash that fractures two vertebrae, and you could be a quadraplegic ... so many things go out the door, you think your Olympic dream is out the door. I have worked really hard, and fought hard. This is worth all the efforts to get back on the bike."

Great Britain came into the Madison as the prohibitive favourites, with Wiggins already having two gold medals, and Cavendish coming off multiple stage wins in the Tour de France. However, they proved to be surprisingly quiet during the race, making only a couple of serious efforts to break away from the field, and scoring only six points to finish ninth.

The race was between Argentina (Walter Perez and Juan Curuchet), Spain (Joan Llaneras and Antonio Tauler) and Russia (Mikhail Ignatyev and Alexei Markov). These were the only three teams to take a lap on the field and make it stick. Argentina was the first to do so, followed by the Russians and then, late in the race, Spain. Canada (Zach Bell and Martin Gilbert) went across at the same time as Russia, to briefly move into a tie for the lead, but the effort was too much and they fell back, losing the lap they ahd gained.

Argentina's winning margin was a slim one point over the Spanish, and two points ahead of Russia.

"We made the first punch," explained Perez, "and the first punch counts twice. In the end, we were worried about Spain and Belgium, because we knew that if they gained a lap we could lose. Spain did get the lap, but it was late in the race and they had nothing left for the finish."

Both Canadians admitted that they overestimated their ability to take a lap and be able to maintain the race pace.

Bell: "We probably should have been a little more conservative, but we got an opportunity, so we decided to roll it. I'm not really that pleased with our ride. We had some solid parts and were able to recover a bit at the end, but it was a case of too little, too late. I think it was a case of two guys who should have been smarter. We rode well, but needed better communication in the race."

Gilbert echoed many of his team mates comments: "I think it was a little disappointing. My form was good, and we were looking at some of the other teams and they looked tired. So we tried to take the lap. We went full gas; and didn't feel it at the moment, but afterwards it caught up with us. Zach and I, for sure did a mistake, but it is partially because we don't race enough in this sort of situation. The form was there, but we got too excited. We both had the form for a better result."

They also both commented on the potential for continuing with the Madison in the future.

Bell: "I'm focussing on the Points Race, I'm committed to it for the next four year cycle. But the Madison could work with that. What we need, though, is a structure in Canada, it's really frustrating right now, I feel like we are beating our heads against a wall."

"I still think that we have a huge potential [for the Madison], but we need structure in place to advance it, and a pool of riders, not just two or three guys working on their own. The Olympics has been really motivating for me to continue, and I'm optimistic about Jacques [Landry] coming on board. I think we have a lot of potential."

Gilbert: "In my mind, the Madison is the race I love more than any other race. I know we can go fast, it's a matter of racing more. We can podium at the World Cup level, but there is no program at the CCA to get us to that point. Right now, it took all our energy just to qualify. If there is a program, then i am into it, for sure. But it will have to be a program that can help the athletes."

Men's Madison
1 Argentina (Juan Esteban Curuchet/Walter Fernando Perez)8
2 Spain (Joan Llaneras/Antonio Tauler)7
3 Russian Fed. (Mikhail Ignatyev/Alexei Markov)6
4 Belgium (Iljo Keisse/Kenny de Ketele)17(-1 lap)
5 Germany (Roger Kluge/Olaf Pollack)15(-1 lap)
6 Denmark (Michael Moerkoev/Alex Nicki Rasmussen)14(-1 lap)
7 France (Matthieu Ladagnous/Jerome Neuville)12(-1 lap)
8 Netherlands (Jens Mouris/Peter Schep)6(-1 lap)
9 Great Britain (Mark Cavendish/Bradley Wiggins)6(-1 lap)
10 New Zealand (Greg Henderson/Hayden Roulston)5(-1 lap)
11 Switzerland (Franco Marvulli/Bruno Risi)3(-1 lap)
12 Canada (Zach Bell/Martin Gilbert)5(-3 laps)
13 Czech Republic (Milan Kadlec/Alois Kankovsky)3(-3 laps)
14 Italy (Angelo Ciccone/Fabio Masotti)0(-3 laps)
15 Ukraine (Lyubomyr Polatayko/Volodymyr Rybin)0(-3 laps)
16 United States (Michael Friedman/Bobby Lea)3(-4 laps)

Women's Sprint
Heat 1Race 1Race 2Decider
1 Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain)11.53711.885
2 Willy Kanis (Netherlands)
Heat 2
1 Anna Meares (Australia)11.57811.617
2 Shuang Guo (China)11.629REL

Winners race for first and second place
Losers race for third and fourth place

Ride for Gold and SilverRace 1Race 2
1 Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain)11.36311.118
2 Anna Meares (Australia)
Ride for bronze
3 Shuang Guo (China)11.4211.617
4 Willy Kanis (Netherlands)

5 to 8 Final
5 Clara Sanchez (France)12.264
6 Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus)
7 Jennie Reed (United States)
8 Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania)REL

9 to 12 Final
9 Swetlana Grankowskaja (Russia)12.192
10 Lisandra Guerra (Cuba)
11 Yvonne Hijgenaar (Netherlands)
12 Sakie Tsukuda (Japan)

Men's Sprint
Heat 1Race 1Race 2
1 Chris Hoy (Great Britain)10.2610.358
2 Mickael Bourgain (France)
Heat 2
1 Jason Kenny (Great Britain)10.59410.335
2 Maximilian Levy (Germany) L

Winners race for first and second place
Losers race for third and fourth place

Ride for Gold and SilverRace 1Race 2Decider
1 Chris Hoy (Great Britain)10.22810.216
2 Jason Kenny (Great Britain)
Ride for bronze
3 Mickael Bourgain (France)11.04710.56
4 Maximilian Levy (Germany)10.666

5 to 8 Final
5 Kevin Sireau (France)10.719
6 Teun Mulder (Netherlands)
7 Theo Bos (Netherlands)
8 Mohd Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia)

9 to 12 Final
9 Stefan Nimke (Germany)11.051
10 Roberto Chiappa (Italy)
11 Ryan Bayley (Australia)
12 Kazunari Watanabe (Japan)


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