Posted by Editor on 01/21/06
Day One - Session Two
The first medals were awarded in the evening of Day 1 at the Los Angeles round of the Track World Cup. Australia led with two wins, followed by Argentina, Belarus, Italy and Spain with one each.
Natallia Tsylinskaya (Blr) began the day suffering from an upset stomach, but gradually improved to take the gold medal in two straight rides over Clara Sanchez (Fra) in the final. Former world junior champion Shuang Guo (Chn) won the bronze after Willy Kanis was relegated in the their third ride for dropping down on Guo after the sprint had commenced.
"Today was very difficult for me, a very hard day." commented Tsylinskaya "I had a little bit of an upset stomach at the start and I only began to feel good by the final. The race was good, I was able to come back (in the semifinal) to the Dutch girl (Kanis) and then I began to be more confident."
The men's Scratch Race was taken by Walter Perez (Arg), one of four riders to take a lap on the field. Perez, the 2004 Madison world champion, rode a tactical race to overcome faster sprinters.
"I'm not so good a sprinter, so my plan was to get away when it was possible. It worked perfectly, so I am happy."
The men's Keirin was probably the most exciting event of the evening, with Shane Kelly (Aus) winning a three-up dash to line in the gold medal final against Jamie Staff (GBr) and world Keirin champion Teun Mulder (Ned). Kelly was sitting in third when the pacer pulled off, and watched Staff and Mulder sweep by him from the back.
"The semifinal was crazy - I almost didn't make it through to the final - so I decided that I wouldn't let that happen again. When Jamie came by he brushed me pretty hard, and I knew that I had to get back by him and take the lead going into the last couple of laps."
Kelly launched a massive counterattack, taking control of the race with a little under two laps to go and holding until the line.
"My plan had been to make a move with a lap and three quarters, a lap and half to go. Once I got the lead I was confident that I could stay in front, or at least in the first three. I was injured back in July, which has put my schedule back a bit (for Commonwealth Games), but is is encouraging."
Sergio Escobar (Spa) left no doubt in the minds of spectators that he was the top rider in the pursuit, recording the fastest splits at every intermediate time check in the gold medal final against Jens Mouris (Ned) and finishing three and a half seconds in front. Jason Allen (NZl) served notice, with his bronze medal, that he will be a contender at the Commonwealth Games.
The women's Points Race also proved to be a highlight of the evening, with the lead changing multiple times. The high speed meant that no one was able to steal a lap (and the resulting 20 points), so riders had to fight for every sprint. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) was the eventual winner, winning the first and last sprint, and collecting points in two others. At the halfway point the Chinese appeared to be in control, with Yan Li winning two sprints and Jianling Wan another. However, they faded towards the end, and the Italians struck back, with world champion Vera Carrara pacing Bronzini to her second sprint win and a second place result. American Rebecca Quinn, riding for the Spike trade team, gave locals something to cheer about with a consistent ride and a win in the final sprint to take the silver medal.
The final event of the evening was the Kilo, and Australia took its second win of the day from Ben Kersten in a time of 1:02.760. Like Kelly, Kersten has been injured recently, and this World Cup is his first of the season, so he didn't know what to expect.
"I hurt my back in November, so my confidence has been down. I didn't race all year, and my first races back were the Christmas carnivals in Tasmania. The Kilo takes a lot of base prep, which I haven't done, and weight work, which I can't do because of my back. The time was pretty good - this is a slow track - but I have some improving to do. (Chris) Hoy's done a 1:01 this year, so there's still a lot to improve on."
- Gina Grain had a strong Points Race, finishing fifth overall and winning one sprint after a long breakaway with Tina Pic (USA). "That was so fun! It went really well out there; I had decided to just ride my own race, not worry about the Olympic champion, world champion, all that stuff. So I was just looking for opportunities, look for things to go with." Grain's result puts her incontention for a Commonwealth Games spot.
- Matt Barlee finished eighth in the Kilo, a personal best time, and only a second out of fifth, while Travis Smith missed the final for the Keirin after getting boxed in, in the second round. He recovered to take second in the small final (8th overall).
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