Posted by Editoress on 03/27/11
Day Four of the 2011 Track Worlds saw four world titles awarded, with three going to Australia and one to host Netherlands - their first. Shane Perkins took the Men's Keirin title, Anna Meares the Women's Sprint and unheralded Michael Freiberg the Men's Omnium, while Marianne Vos gave the Dutch something to cheer about wit a last lap breakaway to win the Women's Scratch Race.
Men's Omnium Day 2 Photos: Pursuit, Scratch, Kilo TT
Going into the second day of competition there was still no clear leader, with pre-competition favourites Tim Veldt (Netherlands), Shane Archbold (New Zealand) and Zach Bell (Canada) all struggling. After a strong Individual Pursuit, Archbold took the lead, but only one point ahead of Freiberg, who was showing remarkable consistency after a poor opening race in the Flying 200 metre. When the Australian won the fifth race - the Scratch - and Archbold was well back (11th), it was almost sealed. Archbold won the final 1000 metre time trial but, with 10 points in hand, Freiberg cruised to victory after finishing the last event in sixth place. Gijs Van Hoecke (Belgium), still showing facial scars from a heavy crash in the Elimination on Day 1, took third.
Zach Bell did not fare as well, finishing a disappointing sixth overall. The 2011 World Cup series champion won the opening race and was still in the lead after the second event, however, the middle two races saw him drop to eighth in the standings, and out of medal contention. He fought back in the final two races to move up to sixth.
"It's a bit of a mix of feelings," he said. "I think coming here I felt that even if things didn't go my way, I could still have been in the top-5. There was some tactical things that I didn't get on top of in the first day, and the legs just didn't come around the way we expected them to."
"Today was more positive, as I was able to salvage some semi-decent results - which were probably the worst I have had this season. In terms of moving forward and the Olympics, it's about getting the job done. Having two of my worst days of the season and finish sixth is pretty good."
Men's Keirin Photos
One of the most exciting events of the championships, the Keirin has been dominated by Great Britain for the past few years. The Brits put two into the final - Chris Hoy and Matt Crampton, with Jason Kenny missing the top six. Joining Hoy and Crampton were Perkins, Rene Enders (Germany), Ed Dawkins (New Zealand) and the great Dutch favourite Teun Mulder. Mulder is a former world champion, but is approaching the end of his career. However, he managed to feed off the cheers of the crowd to move through to the final, and then take the bronze medal, with a final surge past Crampton. Hoy took the silver behind Perkins.
An interesting note: This is the first time in ten years (except for 2009, when he was injured and did not compete) that Chris Hoy has not one at least one world title...
Women's Sprint Day 2 Photos
Anna Meares has been working to turn herself into more of a sprinter over the past few years, after the removal of her Olympic title event - the 500 metre time trial - from the Olympics. Her biggest nemesis has been Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton, who was carrying a four year winning streak for the evnt coming into these Worlds. However, Pendleton had already been beat by Meares in the Team Sprint, and the Brit didn't seem to have the focus that she normally shows. The two went up against each other in the semi-finals, with Meares winning the first and third races. In the other semi it was Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) versus Olga Panarina (Belarus), with Krupeckaite going through in three rides. In the final, Meares easily disposed of her rival, while Pendleton took the bronze. On the podium, emotion overtook Meares as she cried during the raising of the flags.
Women's Scratch Race Photos
After a series of early aborted attacks, in the final ten laps Belarus rider Aksana Papko began what would prove to be the winning move. Vos, Kathy Bates (Australia) and Danielle King (Great Britain) bridged up quickly, with Els Belmans (Belgium) the final rider to make it across. Vos and Bates drove the break until they had almost lapped the field, at which point they slowed to avoid getting caught up in traffic and cruised aroud behind the bunch. On the last lap Vos launched the winning attack, with the partisan crowd raising the roof as she raced to victory.
Women's Omnium Day 1 Photos: Flying 200, Points Race, Elimination
This was expected to be a battle between Tara Whitten (Canada), road pro Kirsten Wild (Netherlands) and Sarah Hammer (USA), however, Hammer was clearly struggling, after having raced both the Individual and Team Pursuits. Leire Olaberria (Spain) won the Flying 200, with Whitten second and Wild fourth. In the Points Race, Wild took fifth and whitten could only manage eighth, and in the Elimination, Wild was third and Whitten fourth. After the first three events, Wild leads Whitten by two points, Malgorzata Wojtyra (Poland) was third, six points back and Hammer a distant ten points.
"I am pretty happy with how the things have gone so far," commented Whitten. "The Omnium is all about consistency. None of the events were perfect, but I have been near the top in all three."
"I am pretty excited about tomorrow. The pursuit is a strong event for me and that will put me in a good position. I just have to race smart in the Scratch and get out of the gate in the 500m time trial," she added.
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