Canadian Cyclist


November 22/00 11:45 am - Final Open des Nations Report

Posted by Editor on 11/22/00

Open des Nations - Bordeaux, France

Kris Westwood sent a final (November 19th, Day 3) report from the Open des Nations track meet that a Canadian team participated in last weekend.

The third and final night of the Open des Nations at the Bordeaux velodrome again provided exciting and action-packed racing. The sprint events were once again dominated by the French riders, keeping the partisan crowd happy.

Jim Fisher was our representative in the Keirin event. Jim is a solid lad: he weighs in at about 100 kg. However, there were a lot of big meaty guys bouncing him around and he again got shuffled to the back of his heat. His experience here should help hone the instincts he needs to succeed in this event in the future. In the final for 9th to 16th Jim narrowly missed a tumbling Kikzis (Latvia) and finished 14th. The Keirin tournament was won by reigning World Champion Fred Magné, and at the end of the evening all the riders entered in the Open accompanied him on a lap of the track honoring his retirement.

Kyle Hudson rode in the sprints, which were won by Florian Rousseau in front of Arnaud Tournant in a titanic final. Kyle ended up in the ride for 13th to 16th, which he had won on the first night. He was on the wrong side of some bumping and grinding this time though, and ended up 15th.

The madison was won by the Belgian pair of Gilmore and Vermeersch who took a lap on everybody else. The race saw our boys Rendall and Cloutier raise their level yet again, though they eventually dropped three laps down and were pulled. The level here is so high that we cannot expect any more of them. As Glen put it, riding at those speeds, "picture yourself driving in a car at 40 km/h, reaching out the window and grabbing the hand of someone standing at a bus stop. That‚s what it‚s like doing handslings at 60 km/h. Now imagine 15 other riders around you trying to do the same thing."

Jim rode the elimination race, got boxed in and was second rider eliminated. The race was won by Fred Magné. Czech sprinter Pavel Buran rode an impressive race, forcing other riders off the back and then blocking them from passing him on elimination laps. He was eventually pulled out by the jury for using this tactic, and finished fourth.

Glen rode the win-and-out and was able to follow all the moves, but didn‚t have the punch to win the sprints. French rider David Hubschwerlin won by attacking from the gun. This bizarre event encourages negative riding so nobody was willing to chase. The win-and-out will not be included in next year‚s program.

After three night‚s high-speed racing, Alex Cloutier‚s legs let him down in the points race. He finished last in an event won by Jimmi Madsen (Denmark)

The French had more to cheer about in the flying lap, as Arnaud Tournand set a personal best time of 12.661 seconds for an average speed of 71.084 km/h. Kyle was 15th. The times set in this event demonstrate just how seriously the riders were taking the racing.

The Societé du Tour de France was very satisfied with the outcome of the Open des Nations. They plan to hold it in Bordeaux again next year at this time of year. Our performances realistically reflect our level on the international scene, but our presence also reflects our ever-higher profile in the cycling world. Looking at the madison field, for example, virtually every other rider besides Glen and Alex have pro contracts with division I and II teams, and compete regularly on the winter six-day circuit. For us to perform at that level we need for our riders to have access to that type of racing.

So, back home for Jim and Kyle. Glen, Alex and I are going on to Zurich for the amateur six-day. More news when I got it.

- Kris Westwood


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