Posted by Editoress on 03/24/11
Day Two of the Track Worlds saw three titles awarded, in the Men's Individual Sprint, Women's Team Pursuit and Women's Team Sprint. In addition, the Men's Sprint competition got underway, with qualifications and the first three rounds of racing. Canada had riders in both the Men's Sprint and Women's Team Pursuit.
Women's Team Pursuit Photos
Sixteen teams participated in this Olympic event, with Great Britain decisively beating the United States for the gold medal, while New Zealand beat close rivals Australia for the bronze. Canada's team, comprised of Tara Whitten, Clara Hughes and Laura Brown finished sixth; a strong result given that it was the first time the team had ridden together in competition. After their first kilometre the team was in tenth place, then recorded the sixth fastest second kilometre, and the fourth fastest final kilometre.
"I think our team has made a lot of progress," said Whitten, a two-time world champion in 2010. "The result doesn't show it, but we definitely have momentum as we build towards the Olympics in London. We are going to see a lot of improvement because we are at a point where everyone has a lot of speed, and we just need to lengthen it out for the whole 3000 metres."
Hughes, who is returning to cycling after a stellar career as a speedskater, was pleased just to make the team, and expects to continue to improve as she becomes more 'cycling fit'.
"It feels great, really, really motivational to be on the team. I think we did a great job today, I feel really proud of the way we raced and communicated during the race. The team environment is phenomenal; I've never seen Canadian cycling at this level."
"For me, I just need more time, and we need to work on bringing everyone's strength together in the race. In one way, it was very hard, because I am not physically where I want to be, I'm not at my level. I was so nervous! My first race was the Worlds, and I didn't want to screw up."
Laura Brown agreed that the team has no where to go but up: "It was our first race with Clara; the first time doing a full on 3 K ride with her. I know we have lots to improve on, but it was a good start. We have four strong girls (including Steph Roorda, who did not race), so I just know we are going to get better."
"I would have to say the most positive experience of the trip was the support staff and coaches. They were all so UNBELIEVABLE on this trip. I had complete trust in all those surrounding me so that all I had to do today was get on my bike and ride as hard as I possibly could."
Tanya Dubnicoff is the national coach for the Team Pursuit program, and put the ride in perspective: "As a coach, you always want to see them advance to the next round, or finish one place higher, but it's all new."
"They managed the ride well, even though they started in an order that they hadn't practiced. We had Trials on the 22nd to pick the team, and that was hard, and we will review it. But the way everyone came together was the best part, and definitely training together, just being able to do that will be the biggest difference."
"[You ask if I'm] satisfied, and I would say yes, the process worked. Some of these other teams have been together for years, and we have to train with the riders all away from home for extended periods - which is why we need a velodrome. This is just a starting point."
Women's Team Sprint Photos
This event was dominated by world record holder Australia, with Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch qualifying first and then beating the British squad of Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish in the final. Meares had such a strong first lap that Pendleton, who rode second for the Brits, couldn't make up the difference. China beat France for the bronze, when the French lead riders Sandie Clair dropped her team mate on the first lap.
Men's Individual Pursuit Photos
Garmin-Cervelo pro Jack Bobridge gave the Australians their second title of the night, with a totally dominating performance. Australians finished in three of the top four spots (1, 3 and 4), with only Jesse Sergent (New Zealand) throwing a wrench in the sweep by taking the silver medal. Michael Hepburn took the bronze, ahead of team mate Rohan Dennis.
Men's Sprint Qualifying Photos More Photos
The men's Sprint also got underway today with the Flying 200 Metre Time Trial qualifier, and the sixteenth, eighth and quarter final rounds. France and Great Britain dominated the results, with two riders from each country making the final four.
Mickaël Bourgain (France) qualified first, and blazed through all of his heats, showing astounding speed. Olympic champion Chris Hoy (Great Britain) qualified second, also made short work of his rivals, as did the defending world champion gregory Bauge (France). The fourth rider, Jason Kenny (Great Britain) had a little harder time of it, as it took three rides to overcome Australian Shane Perkins.
Canada had one entry in the field - Scott Mulder - who finished a respectable 36th out of 50 riders.
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