Posted by Editoress on 01/22/06
Track World Cup #3: Day 3 Los Angeles CA
The Los Angeles round of the Track World Cup finished on Sunday with four events - the Madison, women's Scratch Race, women's Keirin and Team Sprint. France were the big winners with two titles, followed by the United States and Argentina with one apiece.
Sarah Hammer (USA) took her pursuiting skills onto the track for the Scratch Race, and won with an impressive display of power. Hammer and her countrywomen Rebecca Quinn had planned that Hammer would keep the speed high through the final laps to discourage breakaways, and to set up Quinn in a winning position for the final sprint. Instead, Hammer led for the final eight laps and won the race, with Quinn in second.
"Hammer was really strong." said Canada's Gina Grain. "She kept the speed at 47, 48 kilometres an hour which was enough to discourage anyone from passing, and then she upped the speed at the end and no one could come round her."
"The plan going in was that I'm going to lead (for Quinn) - this is her race." explained Hammer. "I'm not a big fan of the pack; my big goal was not to crash. So the idea was for me to hang out at the back until 2 K to go. I got on the gas with 8 (laps) to go - 2 K - which was perfect for me.
"I was going 100% at the end and she (Quinn) was coming around, but it just happened that I stayed at the front. It's been a long time since American endurance women have worked together, but we are a great team, we support each other and it doesn't matter which one wins."
Clara Sanchez (Fra), the world champion and World Cup leader in the Keirin confirmed that she is the dominant woman in the discipline by taking the title. Although it appeared that she had left it too late in the medal race, letting former Junior world champion Shuang Guo (Chn) take the lead into the start of the last lap, Sanchez had impressive speed coming through the final turn and straight, going over the top of Guo and Elisa Frisoni (Ita) for the win.
France took a second victory in the Team Sprint, up against the Polish squad. Led out by sprinters Gregory Bauge and Mickael Bourgain, the French beat Lukasz Kwiatkowski, Krzysztof Szmanek and Damian Zielinski by over one second. Australia (Ryan Bayley, Shane Kelly and Shane Perkins) beat the American Spike team (Stephen Alfred, Ben Barczewski and Giddeon Massie) for the bronze.
In the 120 lap Madison, Russia was the favoured squad, anchored by the indefatigable Mickhail Ignatiev. The duo took points in six of the eight sprints, and were well on their way to victory shortly after the halfway mark, when the Argentine squad of Walter Perez and Dario Colla broke away and took a lap on the field. The Dutch managed to jump clear at the same time, and joined Argentina a lap up on the field, making it a two team race. When the Dutch missed a handover prior to the second last sprint, and Argentina took second in both of the final two sprints, their victory was assured.
Perez admitted that the plan had been to try and take a lap. "Our plan was to wait until the middle of the race, after everyone was a little bit tired, and attack to gain a lap. With this team that was the plan. My previous partner was more of a sprinter, so we could go for the sprints, but now with both of us more endurance riders it is better to gain a lap."
- The Netherlands overtook Germany to lead the nations rankings with one event remaining.
- A number of riders will skip the final in Sydney, and not defend their leads in the overall standings. Ignatiev is joining his road team, Hammer, Bauge and Perez are among many who are planning to concentrate on preparing for the world championships in Bordeaux, France, rather than making the long flight to Sydney for the Final.
- Canadian riders had mixed results for the day. The Team Sprint squad (Cam MacKinnon, Yannik Morin and Travis Smith) finished 10th - out of the finals but in the UCI points standings. Gina Grain was 7th in the Scratch Race, and could have had a medal chance until she was bumped heavily in the final three laps. "Someone ran into me hard on my right side and I dropped back. I fought back up, but then I was boxed in at the bottom and had nowhere to go."
She is also hopeful about Commonwealth Games selection, after two top-10 finishes for the weekend. "I think that I have shown I am riding well - after crashing two times in Manchester! We'll just have to wait and see."
The Madison team of Martin Gilbert and Zach Bell did not finish their race, after getting lapped twice. However, they did make it into the final, and finished 13th overall. The CCA says that they will announce the final squad for the Commonwealth Games by Tuesday.
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