Posted by Editoress on 03/27/05
Track World Championships Los Angeles CA
Vancouver's Mandy Poitras crashed in the final turn of the women's Scratch Race at the Track Cycling World Championships. Poitras, who won a silver medal in this event at the world championships last year, was positioned in the front five as the pack exited the final corner. French rider Virginie Moinard touched wheels with Poitras in the joustling for position, and the two went down at over 50 kilometres an hour, taking American Rebecca Quinn with them. Poitras was shaken, and lay on the track for a few minutes before being helped to her feet and walking off the track.
"It happened so fast, I don't really know what happened. I vaguely felt like I was getting squeezed, then I was on the ground. I guess I should have been more aggressive, and slammed down (out of the banking). I was too far back to win it, but I think I had a definite shot for the podium."
Poitras, who had a strong race in the Points Race on Friday, was frustrated to exit with a crash while riding well, but overall very happy with her rides in both the Scratch and Points Races.
"A couple of laps to go, I got shuffled back, but overall I'm happy with my race. I was vigilant throughout the race; I felt in control. Maybe I did more than I should have at the beginning, but it wasn't a problem, I had it at the end. I was just trying to keep things in check, because it is so easy for someone to roll away. I would have been more upset if i hadn't done anything in the race and still crashed.
"I changed training this year, so that I could go longer - now I have the ability to take more chances, I have more tools now."
In other events, the British played a master stroke in the final 40 laps, when they counterattacked off the front from the Americans and Argentine squads. They had gambled on conserving energy and not going for intermediate points, then launching an attack while everyone else was resting. The duo of Mark Cavendish and Rob Hayles took a lap on the disorganized field, and then held on to win while other attempts to lap failed. The Netherlands took silver (22 points) and Belgium bronze (20 points).
In the women's Keirin, Clara Sanchez (France) defended her title, with Italy's Elisa Frisoni repeating for the silver medal.
The men's Sprint was affected by a crash in the semi-final between French riders Mickael Bourgain and Gregory Bauge. Bauge was clearly the faster of the two, winning the first ride, losing the second, and then going down hard in the final ride while leading, when his rear tire blew in the last turn. After a delay, the ride was re-run, but Bauge was clearly having difficulties, so Bourgain moved onto the gold medal ride against Germany's Rene Wolff.
Wolff was exceptionally strong through all his rides, riding from the front or the back, powering away from the competition. He easily disposed of Jobie Dajka (Australia) in his semi, and took Bourgain in two rides straight, with enough of a lead to throw a hand in the air as he crossed the line. It would have been very interesting to see Wolff against Bauge...
- Great Britain had a very strong Worlds, taking 6 medals in total, including 4 golds. The Netherlands had 8 medals (2 gold), Germany 3 medals (2 gold) and Australia the most medals at 9, but only 1 gold. Neither Canada nor the United States made it onto the podium.
- Rebecca Quinn (USA), who went down in the Scratch Race crash, is reported to have a broken collarbone and two broken ribs.
- The final day set an attendance record for the venue, with over 2800 people cheering on the riders.
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