Blog entries from: News
Sir Chris Hoy admitted to BBC Sport he had found his desire to win lacking as he took sprint bronze at the World Track Cycling in Melbourne.
Hoy is battling Jason Kenny, who won silver, for selection in the Olympic sprint at London 2012. This was the final selection race before the Games.
“I’m maybe not quite as up for it as I was in London [at February's Track World Cup],” said Hoy.
“That seems crazy when it’s a World Championships but it hasn’t happened.”
France’s Gregory Bauge eventually won the world title but, for Hoy and Kenny, the priority is securing that Olympic berth.
Rule changes since Beijing 2008, where Hoy won gold and Kenny silver, mean only one can be chosen in the event at London 2012 rather than both.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” said Hoy, 36, when asked if finishing below the 24-year-old Kenny on the podium would decide Olympic selection.
“We’ve had five selection events this year, and that was the final and most important one. I’ve won three of those five and I missed one through illness.
“It’s hard to put your finger on it when you’re not 100% – what’s the reason? Was it psychological, was it physical? You only have to be a fraction off your best and it shows.
“If Jason gets it, he thoroughly deserves it, he rode really well tonight and even in that final ride there, although Bauge won the gold medal, Jason gave him something to think about. Whoever gets the sprint position for GB will do a really good job, I’m sure.”
Kenny said: “Every race has been important, we’ve both shown we can still race at a good level and there’s nothing between us. What will be, will be.
“I definitely feel I’ve put a good showing in here today but it’s out of my hands.”
Kenny, comfortably beaten by Bauge in the first of their best-of-three heats in the final, deployed the unusual tactic of hitting top speed from the very start of the next heat. He eventually beat a spent Bauge to the line only to be relegated by officials for crossing out of his lane, handing the title to the Frenchman.
“I can’t really argue with the decision,” said Kenny. “It went perfectly to plan other than getting relegated. After a ride like that it would have been 50-50 [had it gone to a deciding heat], he was cream-crackered lying on the floor and I wasn’t much better myself. Inside, I was on fire.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport/0/cycling/17646319Posted by: keith on Saturday, April 7th, 2012 posted in: News
Laura Trott won the omnium world title at the World Track Cycling in Melbourne as Sir Chris Hoy’s Olympic selection scrap with Jason Kenny intensified.
Trott, never out of the top two in the six-discipline omnium, took gold ahead of Australia’s Annette Edmondson.
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“To come here and win the omnium is massive for me”
Kenny, 24, earlier needed only two heats of a best-of-three men’s sprint semi-final to beat 36-year-old Hoy.
France’s Gregory Bauge then beat Kenny to gold in the final, with Hoy taking bronze over Australian Shane Perkins.
However, with only one place available to GB in the Olympic individual sprint, Kenny’s semi-final victory might have preserved his London hopes after Hoy outperformed him at February’s World Cup.
Trott is assured of an Olympic place after picking up her second world title of the week, alongside the women’s team pursuit title she helped to win on Thursday.
The 19-year-old has yet to stand anywhere on the podium except at the top: all six medals she has now won at senior European and world level since emerging in 2010 have been gold, and she has turned the omnium’s elimination race into her own entertaining signature event.
Leading overnight following Friday’s first three events, Trott placed third in the individual pursuit, 13th in the scratch race and first in the time trial to secure the overall world champion’s rainbow jersey.
“I think I’m setting myself up well for London,” Trott told BBC Sport’s Jill Douglas. “To come here and win the omnium is massive for me.
“I’ve never been in that position [of going] into the last event winning. It was really hard on my head but I got myself fired up for it.
“Me and my coach have been doing a lot of work, watching back the races that I haven’t done so well in, and it’s paid off. I improved on the points race, which was that extra margin I needed from the London World Cup.”
Kenny lost his own rainbow jersey to Bauge in an intriguing sprint final inside Melbourne’s Hisense Arena, with the formidable Frenchman powering through the first heat before Kenny looked to have caught him cold with an early dash for the line in the second.
The Englishman did not get the chance to test the now tired-looking Bauge in a decisive third heat, though, as he was judged to have gone off the sprinting line, handing his opponent a 2-0 win.
Bauge won the event last year but was later stripped of the title as a result of a 12-month retrospective ban, imposed by his own national federation, for offences related to dope tests.
Kenny, beaten by Bauge in the 2011 world final, was racing as the defending world champion having been elevated from silver-medal position, but Hoy is the Olympic champion – he beat Kenny in Beijing four years ago.
Since that battle of the Brits, world governing body the UCI has altered the Olympic cycling rules: nations now have only one entry per event instead of two, hence Hoy and Kenny must scrap it out for the one place available to Britain at London 2012.
The British Cycling team for the London Olympics is expected to be announced in June.
who won a gripping women’s sprint contest despite a collision with arch-rival Anna Meares of Australia on Friday, ran out of steam in her keirin second-round race and failed to join Meares in the final, which the Australian won.
won his second medal of a highly impressive week, following up Wednesday’s scratch race victory with silver in the points race behind Australian Cameron Meyer. Neither event is in the Olympic programme.
finished fifth in the men’s individual pursuit, which was also dropped from the Olympic schedule following Beijing 2008.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport/0/cycling/17644175Posted by: keith on Saturday, April 7th, 2012 posted in: News
Gold medallist Chris Boardman has announced he will quit British Cycling after London 2012.
The current director of research and development has presided over a period of continued success during a nine-year stint with the governing body.
“This job has been great but it demands your entire life to do it properly,” the 43-year-old said.
Boardman’s management and technical innovations influenced cycling’s 14-medal haul at Beijing 2008.
Chris Boardman column
“We tried to understand aerodynamics systematically and our results were such that everybody has since put Great Britain in the spotlight to understand why we were so successful”
Throughout his career, Boardman was quick to
and continued that when he moved on to British Cycling’s staff.
His revolutionary approach to bike aerodynamics helped athletes such as Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy achieve medal wins four years ago.
“I have spent the last nine years working within the coaching, management and technical aspects of the British cycling team,” Boardman told the BBC at the
“Our biggest achievement for Beijing was improving awareness of how important aerodynamics is.
“[The] decision is tinged with sadness because it’s a big chunk of my life, but I’m convinced this is the right time. It’s been great, but it is somebody else’s turn now.”
The Hoylake-born rider rose to fame at the Barcelona Games in 1992 when he used a Lotus-designed carbon fibre bike to claim gold in the individual track pursuit and was named an MBE.
He then went on to break the world hour record, and wore the yellow jersey at the Tour de France three times before retiring in 2000.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport/0/cycling/17636151Posted by: keith on Friday, April 6th, 2012 posted in: News
Victoria Pendleton picked herself off the floor to record a brilliant semi-final victory over Australia’s Anna Meares en route to world sprint gold.
Pendleton suffered track burns after a crash in her first best-of-three semi-final heat against arch-rival Meares.
The Briton struck back to reach the final in Melbourne, where officials relegated Lithuania’s Simona Krupeckaite to hand her gold.
“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster,” Pendleton told BBC Sport.
“That’s not necessarily the way I’d like to win, in an ideal scenario, with relegations and stuff. It always feels a bit weird and not very true to the sport, but those are the rules.
“I’m delighted with the result. I didn’t think it was going to happen coming into today. It’s great to end on a high.”
Pendleton intends to retire after the London Olympics and will now do so with nine career world titles to her name, including six in the sprint.
To keep her hopes of winning this one alive, she first had to peel her battered right side up from the Hisense Arena track. She clashed arms with Meares in the midst of a frantic finish to their first semi-final heat, sending the 31-year-old crashing down and burning her right shoulder, elbow and hip on the wooden surface.
“It’s not too bad. I lost my balance, went too far in one direction and lost my traction,” she said.
“My dad always said you don’t do track cycling unless you’re prepared to crash. I slid quite nicely, which sounds random, and I felt fine. I could tell it was just surface wounds.”
Meares told BBC Sport: “I’m getting sick of meeting Vicky in the semi-final, it’s making it really hard. For her to pick herself up after that heavy fall and come back as hard as she did is a mark of the woman and the great champion that she is.”
Olympic champion Pendleton against world champion Meares is the London 2012 sprint final to which track cycling fans and the media have been eagerly building ever since Beijing 2008, where they finished first and second respectively.
If the Australian has recently appeared out of Pendleton’s league on one or two occasions, the latter laid her body on the line to prove more than Meares’ match in Melbourne.
Officials relegated Meares from the second heat for straying outside her racing line, levelling the score at 1-1.
Pendleton – burns showing through large holes in her GB skinsuit – then upstaged the 28-year-old Meares in a spectacular deciding heat, winning in a photo finish.
The final against Krupeckaite, last year’s silver medallist, felt predestined for Pendleton in front of a muted Australian crowd.
But the victory came in odd circumstances. Pendleton won heat one and Krupeckaite seemed to have levelled in the second race before the Lithuanian, too, was relegated in identical circumstances to Meares.
Pendleton, already off the track and preparing for a deciding heat when the relegation and her consequent victory were announced, fell into an emotional celebration as she won Britain a third gold medal of the week in Olympic events (fourth overall). Meares took the bronze.
“I was disappointed with the team sprint [on Wednesday, when Pendleton and Jess Varnish failed to earn a medal],” said Pendleton.
“It left me flat, I must admit. Picking myself up for this was quite hard. I thought this was going to be a stepping-stone and I hoped I might do a better performance than I did at the London World Cup.
“I feel I did that and I’m more than pleased.”
Elsewhere on Friday,
Sir Chris Hoy
took a lengthy route to the men’s sprint semi-finals, where he will now face team-mate
The Scot first came through a repechage round following an early defeat by France’s Mickael Bourgain, then edged past Germany’s Robert Foerstemann in their deciding quarter-final heat, which also required a photo to separate the pair.
Kenny defeated Frenchman Kevin Sireau in their last-eight decider with a bold, early bid for the line to set up an all-British semi-final on Saturday. The outcome of that race could help to decide which of the pair rides in the sprint at the Olympics, with only one slot available.
In the six-event men’s omnium, Britain’s
lost some ground on his rivals with seventh place in event five, the scratch race, eventually claiming fourth overall despite a strong time trial to finish.
took fourth place in the non-Olympic women’s scratch race, having been part of the women’s pursuit team that won world gold a day earlier.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport/0/cycling/17636634Posted by: keith on Friday, April 6th, 2012 posted in: News
Great Britain’s Joanna Rowsell, Dani King and Laura Trott smashed the team pursuit world record twice in one day as they defeated Australia for gold at the Track Cycling World Championships.
Both teams broke the record in qualifying but GB won the final in a record three minutes 15.720 seconds.
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“A lot of the Australians were commenting after the World Cup in February that we had home support, but they had that here and we still beat them”
“I don’t know how we did that,” said King. “We rode a perfect race.”
Thursday’s victory echoed the GB men’s achievement in
a day earlier.
Britain’s women were more than a second off the hosts’ pace for large parts of the final in front of a passionate Australian crowd, but ate up the gap in a blistering final kilometre to successfully defend their world title.
“It gives a really strong message that they’ve got to beat us now. We’ve not lost a competition since February last year and it’s going to be our track,” said Trott.
The British time shaved almost 2.5secs off the world record the same trio set just two months ago at the Track World Cup inside London’s Olympic Velodrome.
“At the beginning of the race they were up on us quite a lot. Paul [Manning, their coach] was pulling us forward to go faster and we just dug in,” King told BBC Sport.
“We did a consistent ride and kept the speed going all the way to the end, which I think is our winning strategy.”
Seeing Britain win the world title here and break two world records doesn’t surprise me. Competition for places breeds success: when you leave a rider of Wendy Houvenaghel’s class out of the team, you know you’ve got something very special, and this team gels so well.
Even their qualification ride was exceptionally consistent and, without wanting to be too technical, the splits show it was the perfect ride. All they can do now is do that again, but faster. It was such a professional piece of bike riding.
Rowsell said: “A lot of the Australians were commenting after the World Cup in February that we had home support, but they had that here and we still beat them.
“It was such an inspiration seeing the men win yesterday and break their world record. We knew the track was fast, we were determined to go out and win as well.
“In London we went out fast and came off a bit towards the end. We decided to go out steadier today and it paid off.”
British Cycling’s performance director Dave Brailsford said it would be “futile” to start rating the quartet’s Olympics chances.
“It’s dangerous to start predicting forward,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.
“You start thinking about the outcome before you think about the progress. Our job is to stop now and think what we can do in order to progress forward and be the best we can when we get to London.
“Once you start engaging in ‘what happens when we win, lose’ then it’s actually a futile exercise.”
New world bests have now been set in four events with some records broken on multiple occasions, a quick Hisense Arena track and Melbourne’s April heat helping fast times.
Australia’s Anna Meares earlier broke the 200m time trial world record in the first qualifying session of the women’s sprint – a warning for Britain’s Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton, who narrowly made it through to Friday’s sprint semi-finals alongside Meares, while GB team-mate Jess Varnish was knocked out.
Steven Burke finished 10th for Great Britain in the men’s kilo time trial, formerly an Olympic event, posting a time of 1:02.180 to eventual winner Stefan Nimke’s 1:00.082.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport/0/cycling/17622308Posted by: keith on Thursday, April 5th, 2012 posted in: News
Ed and Pete Kennaugh were completely spent towards the end and I maybe should have carried on going more than I did. I thought I was dying but Ed was already dead, he had no life left. Little things like that are good to go through now, even straight after a victory like this one. But to hang on and win with a world record was extra-special.
The first time we broke that world record, at the World Championships in Manchester before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was just as amazing.
We broke our own record twice in Beijing later that year, but in Beijing we knew we were going to do it. We expected that to happen. In Manchester that wasn’t the case, and definitely not here. Only in the last few days of training did we realise we were travelling well and might just get close to it.
The thing is, it had been a pretty relaxed day. With qualifying not until around 4.30pm local time, we were up at 8.30 that morning, doing a bit on the turbo, a little warm-up at around 10am, a pre-race meal and then down to the track.
Our qualifying ride was two seconds faster than we’ve ever qualified before – the fastest qualifying time ever – and that was great for our confidence. Even though the Australians qualified just two tenths of a second behind us, we were still confident we would deliver in the final.
It was interesting how the Australian crowd inside the Hisense Arena were pretty much non-existent during our qualifying ride. That seemed a lot different to the way it was in London at the Track World Cup two months ago, when every team seemed to get cheered. But we love that rivalry.
Having beaten us in London, they really bigged this race up in the Aussie press. We were relaxed after qualifying, though. We knew we would improve on that London performance – we said as much straight after that race in February – so we spent the next couple of hours, between qualifying and the final, chilling out.
We had a meeting where our coach Shane Sutton went through some changes, and the decision was made to bring Andy Tennant out of the line-up in favour of Steven Burke. We had seen the split times from qualifying and Andy was coming off it a bit, he could accept that and see the evidence. It was the right decision to make, but obviously hard for him: he wanted to ride in the final, as everyone did. Nobody’s place in this team is secure, except Ed, because he’s so good at that start.
Getting onto that start line, you block everything out. And from there, all you can hear is the crowd going nuts one lap, then dead silent the next, then nuts again, and so on. It’s not hard to guess when the Aussies are up, and when you’re up.
It was a good half a lap after we crossed the line that I knew the result. When we finished I couldn’t see the scoreboard so I watched an Aussie rider in front of me – I don’t know which one – waiting for his reaction and listening for the crowd.
When I heard that collective sigh and saw the Aussie drop his head, I knew we’d got it. What an amazing feeling it is, an excitement I haven’t felt in a while. For it to be so close, then to win and to ride a world record lifts all that pressure that had been building and building since November.
London was tough, having them beat us as convincingly as they did, but we turned it around in probably the most exciting race I’ve ever been involved in – especially when I watched it back to see how close it was, because at the time we didn’t really know. To deal with that pressure and deliver what we wanted was amazing. Doing it in Australia’s back yard is the icing on the cake.
We can’t wait for the Olympics now. This result has made us even hungrier. I believed we could close the gap and beat Australia, but it’s one thing to believe that and another to come out and do it. Not only that, the next period is where we made a big leap forward in 2008 ahead of the Beijing Games. We have to do that again.
Winning in Melbourne reinforces the confidence and self-belief we need, and we are all gunning for London 2012. It can’t come quickly enough.Posted by: keith on Thursday, April 5th, 2012 posted in: News
Olympic time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara says he is still on track to defend his title in London despite breaking his collarbone in a crash.
The Swiss rider crashed in the Tour of Flanders classic on Sunday and had surgery in Basle the same day.
“I’m happy that the surgery went so well, but I’m still in pain,” said the 31-year-old.
“Because I had planned a break after the classics anyway, my build-up towards London will not change.”
“I’m going to rest a couple of days, maybe even a week, and then resume training”
Cancellara crashed in the middle of the pack during a chaotic stretch when riders were picking up their last food supplies, 60km from the finish in Belgium.
“I’m glad I only broke my collarbone and that I’m OK for the rest,” he added. “I’ll be back.
“I’m going to rest a couple of days, maybe even a week, and then resume training.
“The plan is that I return to competition in May, possibly the Bayern Rundfahrt [Tour of Bavaria, from 23-27 May], as I did last year.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport/0/cycling/17603649Posted by: keith on Thursday, April 5th, 2012 posted in: News
In the latest part of our weekly
series on leading British hopes, BBC Olympic sports reporter Ollie Williams profiles four-time Olympic track cycling gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy.
The face of British Olympic success barely remembers living through the moments etched in the rest of our minds.
“At the time you’re in shock,” recalls Sir Chris Hoy, who became the first Briton to win three gold medals at the same Olympics in a century when he completed his track cycling treble at Beijing 2008.
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“I would not be doing this if I didn’t have questions I still wanted to answer”
Sir Chris Hoy
“The experience of Beijing was one of these things you look back on almost like a dream.
“I’ve watched the video so many times now that my memories are often of the video, and not of the experience itself. When you’ve run the race and you’re riding round, it’s hard to take it all in.”
And Hoy gave himself several chances, winning first the team sprint, then the keirin, then the individual sprint as Great Britain took over the Laoshan Velodrome.
“The thing I enjoy the most, looking back,” he says, “is watching the reaction of the coaching staff and my family in the crowd. People enjoying your victory as much as you are. That’s my favourite memory.
“The difficult thing was putting that to bed and moving on to London, thinking about the next target and not dwelling too much on the past.”
Leaving Beijing behind is made all the harder by the status Hoy’s achievements there afforded the Scot, now 36. Already a silver medallist at Sydney 2000 and gold medallist from Athens 2004, Hoy left China as the embodiment of Britain’s finest Olympics in living memory and was knighted soon after.
If he achieves his ambition to carry on cycling until the 2014 Commonwealth Games, he will accomplish the rare feat of competing in an arena named after him, the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow.
Yet for all that – the public adulation, the responsibility as that sporting figurehead, the lucrative consequences of those gold medals – Hoy has spent much of the past four years as far from the spotlight as can be imagined. For months at a time he has laid low.
Be in no doubt that Hoy has collected on some of those opportunities (you may recall the cereal adverts) and need no longer worry about money but, in the current climate of scrutiny surrounding the time athletes devote to media and marketing, his discipline and focus stand out.
“I’d already decided I’d do my very best to continue on to 2012, regardless of how it went in Beijing,” he recalls. “And then more so after Beijing, having won the three golds, there was never any doubt I was going to keep going.
“I had a couple of months off the bike and away from competition [after Beijing] and that was very exciting, I was doing fun stuff. But the more time I spent away from the bike, the more I wanted to get back to it and the more I missed being part of the team.
“As soon as I got back on the bike again, I knew. No question.”
Things have not been easy in the intervening four years. Not that those gold medals have clanged about his ample neck as an albatross, more that it is a long time to expect anyone to remain at the very top of their game.
Hoy won at least one gold medal at every World Championships between 2004 and 2008, but has only one to his name since, from the keirin in 2010.
Moreover, changes to the Olympic rules mean Britain can make only one entry to each London 2012 event, as opposed to two in Beijing. Now, even the battle for selection is harder, with Jason Kenny up against Hoy for the men’s sprint place at the Games.
Chris Hoy’s medal record
- 1999 Worlds:
team sprint silver
- 2000 Worlds:
team sprint silver
- 2000 Olympics:
team sprint silver
- 2001 Worlds:
team sprint bronze
- 2002 Worlds:
kilo and team sprint gold
- 2003 Worlds:
team sprint bronze
- 2004 Worlds:
kilo gold, team sprint bronze
- 2004 Olympics:
kilo gold (pictured above)
- 2005 Worlds:
team sprint gold, kilo bronze
- 2006 Worlds:
kilo gold, team sprint silver
- 2007 Worlds:
kilo and keirin gold, team sprint silver
- 2008 Worlds:
sprint and keirin gold, team sprint silver
- 2008 Olympics:
sprint, team sprint and keirin gold
- 2009 Worlds:
absent through injury
- 2010 Worlds:
keirin gold, team sprint bronze
- 2011 Worlds:
sprint, team sprint and keirin silver
However, 2012 has seen Hoy reach back and find the sort of afterburner all Olympic greats possess. He insists the battle with Kenny is nowhere near over; others think Kenny needs an extraordinary result at this week’s World Championships in Melbourne to overhaul Hoy, and then a miracle on top of that.
In Wednesday’s team sprint at the Worlds, GB were disqualified – a frustration for Hoy but debutant Philip Hindes posted a time in the troublesome ‘man one’ slot quick enough to suggest Britain can contend again in this event after several indifferent years.
At the Track World Cup in London two months ago, also the test event for this summer’s Olympic Velodrome, Hoy and the British crowd had a deafening chemistry, more so than any British team-mate in a squad packed with gold-medal potential. He won the keirin gold medal with the fastest racing of his career to date: Sir Chris Hoy continues to improve.
“I would not be doing this if I didn’t have questions I still wanted to answer,” he says. “I’m not doing the same thing again, this is an entirely different challenge and I want to see if it’s possible: winning all three events, or however many I get selected for.
“You cannot quantify the pressure. Pressure is in your head, it’s how each individual perceives it. Pressure could be me sitting here, talking to you now, because there’s a camera and this is going on TV. Some people wouldn’t see that as pressure at all.
“Going to a home Games is an opportunity not many athletes ever get and if you don’t enjoy that experience at the time – because it will pass in the blink of an eye – you’ll regret it. The World Cup in London was amazing, we had that atmosphere and crowd there to support us, and we’ll have the same at the Olympics.
“The longer you go, the more philosophical you become. You look back on your career, you realise it’s coming to an end at some point, and you want to enjoy every last opportunity you have.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport/0/cycling/17606711Posted by: keith on Thursday, April 5th, 2012 posted in: News
Great Britain’s team pursuit men won a spectacular gold medal at the World Track Cycling Championships as they beat Australia with a world record.
Ed Clancy, Pete Kennaugh, Steven Burke and Geraint Thomas clocked three minutes 53.295 seconds in Melbourne.
Jess Varnish and Victoria Pendleton finished fourth in the team sprint, while Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy also missed out.
DAVE BRAILSFORD, GB PERFORMANCE DIRECTOR
“That team pursuit final was the best race I’ve ever seen – not technically, but without doubt the closest and most enthralling. I’m not overly concerned about the men’s team sprint being disqualified – the big challenge we’ve faced is trying to get a good ‘man one’ and Philip Hindes has gone quick there on his debut. It looks like we’ve found somebody with potential and, if we keep working on that, we can be competitive at the London Olympics. While it’s disappointing on the night, actually, I’ll take Philip’s 17.5-second ride and get disqualified.”
Britain had been due to race for bronze but were relegated for an infringement.
The trio had lost out to Germany in qualifying but both teams were later judged to have made illegal changes between riders. Australia went on to take their first gold in the men’s team sprint since 1996, ahead of France.
“We looked at the video and we’ve got nothing to argue about, it was a very small mistake by Phil,” Hoy told BBC Sport. “He did a great ride, to have done a 17.5 in his first championship.
“He’s disappointed but he shouldn’t feel the responsibility – experienced teams like the Germans have been relegated as well. It shouldn’t happen but we’ve won and lost championships by thousandths of a second. If you get it slightly wrong then you’re out and that’s what happened tonight.
“Having said that, that’s the first time in 16 years of competing that I’ve been in a team that’s been relegated. This will all be forgotten if it goes well in London, but this is still a world championships and it would’ve been nice to at least challenge for the podium in the second ride.”
There was better news for the British team when Ben Swift won their second gold on the night in the non-Olympic men’s scratch event.
Varnish and Pendleton had earlier lost to Australia’s Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch in qualifying for the women’s team sprint and were then edged out by China’s Gong Jinjie and Guo Shuang for a medal.
Germany’s Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel broke the Britons’ world record on their way to taking gold.
“Welte and Kristina Vogel have both been performing at a high level for a number of years,” said Pendleton. “To be honest, it’s not surprising they’ve managed to suddenly find their form and get it together. Tonight was really their night.
“We can’t be disappointed with our ride – they just rode an exceptional race tonight. We’re not rolling over yet but tonight was their night.
“We’re only talking a couple of tenths or so, it’s not a massive amount of time, and we’ve got a lot more to come in terms of fine-tuning our performance. What we’ve done already has been a massive achievement and more than I expected, really.”
The British men’s pursuit team confirmed the suggestion from qualifying that they have made up ground on the formidable Australian line-up in the two months since Glenn O’Shea, Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis and Michael Hepburn beat them in London.
DAN HUNT, GB ENDURANCE COACH
“This is probably the proudest night of my career, seeing Ben Swift and the pursuit team win world titles, but I’d rather have had my teeth pulled out than have watched that team pursuit final. The Aussies were up, then we were up, then they were up – it was a good, old-fashioned, toe-to-toe.”
Burke replaced Andy Tennant for the final in a change from the team that qualified fastest earlier on Wednesday, and after the lead changed hands several times it was the British quartet that powered away in the closing stages.
Favourites Australia were close behind, finishing in 3:53.401 for silver.
“That’s the best race I’ve had,” Clancy told BBC Sport.
“It’s the ones you really have to fight hard for that you remember, and we won’t forget that one. We got into that last lap and I’d already given it everything, I was just a passenger – I thought, ‘Oh man, I’m going to lose it all here.’ Thankfully, it was just enough.”
Their time beat the previous world record set when Britain won Olympic gold in Beijing four years ago, and brought them a first world title in the event since 2008.
“It definitely makes up for London, that’s for sure,” said Thomas. “We’re really looking forward now, London 2012 is massive. [Here in the velodrome] the crowd would go nuts for a lap, then go quiet, and I was like, ‘I think we’re up now.’
“We had a strategy, we pushed it to the edge and we had enough of a buffer to hold on. It’s a great, great feeling.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport/0/cycling/17608188Posted by: keith on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 posted in: News
London 2012 organisers have announced alterations to the Olympic mountain bike course, after feedback from competitors in last year’s test event.
Parts of the course, set in the grounds of Hadleigh Castle in Essex, will be widened to allow more opportunities for athletes to pass.
New features have been added to further increase the course’s difficulty.
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“It is wider and higher than for the test event and with the stunning setting of Hadleigh Farm we are looking forward to a world-class Olympic event”
Locog’s director of sport
The main climb has been extended and a new feature has been added with an extended climb to reach it.
Several parts of the course, including the switchback climbs, have been widened and a new climb has been added into the start loop which will be used on the first 4.7km lap of the races.
The changes came after feedback from the mountain bike test event last July.
London 2012 organisers, Locog, gave the riders a questionnaire to complete after the test event, and said amendments would be made after criticims that the course was too flat and narrow.
Debbie Jevans, Locog’s director of sport, said she was confident the largely man-made course would be one of the most technically challenging courses at an Olympic Games, and as competitive as possible due to the increased number of places where competitors could pass each other.
“It is wider and higher than for the test event and with the stunning setting of Hadleigh Farm we are looking forward to a world-class Olympic event,” she said.
Some 36 nations are expected to take part in the London 2012 mountain bike competition; the men’s race on 12 August will have 50 riders, and the women’s race a day earlier will have 30 competitors.
Other test events have also elicited complaints. At the Greenwich Park equestrian test event, while the cross-country drew praise, the surface inside the dressage and show jumping arena was criticised by some riders.
Show jumper David McPherson, who tested the arena, said the waxed sand and fibre surface was “nowhere near good enough”, with British colleague Nick Skelton adding: “The ground is a little bit dead and dense at the moment.”
And in BMX, concerns were raised at August’s test event over the lack of protection from the elements on the straights, where BMX riders perform the majority of their jumps.
British medal hopeful Shanaze Reade said windy conditions made the Olympic Park course particularly hard for female riders.
Mariana Pajon of Colombia, the 2011 world champion, fell victim to the course at the test event, suffering a hard fall in the women’s final and leaving on a stretcher.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport/0/cycling/17612461Posted by: keith on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 posted in: News