Denmark won the world Madison title with an accomplished performance from Michael Morkov and Alex Rasmussen, but the anticipated Great Britain challenge was derailed when Peter Kennaugh crashed around two-thirds of the way into the race.
Great Britain’s duo from the Isle of Man, Kennaugh and reigning world champion Mark Cavendish, were going very nicely when disaster struck. They had to settle for sixth place.
Attentive without being over-eager in the first third of the race, the British team scored points regularly in the sprints and were holding the bronze medal position when the Czech Republic team attacked and gained a lap.
Denmark were just ahead of Great Britain on points, but they were well placed to make their move.
The crash happened when one of the Colombian riders clipped Cavendish’s rear wheel as they came into the bend leaving the back straight. The Colombian went down, skidding down the bank. Kennaugh, who was riding on the inside, had nowhere to go and crashed.
Just like another young member of Britain’s squad, Lizzie Armitstead in yesterday’s scratch race, Kennaugh picked himself up after the crash.
It left Cavendish to hold the fort for a couple of laps while Kennaugh changed bikes and got a big shove back into the race from British Cycling coach Rod Ellingworth.
With his skinsuit all scorched and scuffed the length of his back, Kennaugh got back into the action, took over from Cavendish and got back in the race.
But the incident had put them on the back foot and they were out of position when the Danes gained a lap and the Belgians scored better than them at the next sprint.
From then on, it was always going to be a tall order. The Australians mounted a late bid to gain a lap, which netted them the bronze medal behind the Danes.
Cavendish has won the title twice before – in 2005 with Rob Hayles, and last year in Manchester with Bradley Wiggins. During that race, the British pair attacked hard with around 40 laps to go, gained a lap in superb style and tied up the gold medal.
That looked to be very much the same strategy this time. Cavendish rode the scratch race earlier in the week, finishing seventh after being marked heavily.
There were fears the British would be stifled again, but that didn’t appear to be the case, partly because of Cavendish’s speed on the track. He seemed able to close gaps at will and had the bunch strung out several times.
Cavendish had watched DVDs of the 2006 and 2008 Madison world title races, and the expected strategy was that they would keep in close contact until the final third before laying their cards on the table.
Unfortunately for Britain, because of Kennaugh’s crash they never got the chance to play their hand.
MARK CAVENDISH’S REACTION
“In the Madison there’s more than one team on the track so these things happen.
“After that point we were going well. With Pete off the track I was left on my own and that’s when the Belgians attack. It’s a compliment to us as a team that other teams choose to attack when we’re down to one man.
“Bradley [Wiggins] always had the speed he had because of his age, but technically that was as sound a ride as I’ve ever had.”
1 Denmark (Michael Morkov & Alex Rasmussen) 22pts
2 Australia (Leigh Howard & Cameron Meyer) 2pts
3 Czech Republic (Martin Blaha & Jiri Hochmann) 0pts
One lap down
4 Belgium (Kenny de Ketele & Tim Mertens) 17pts
5 Germany (Roger Kluge & Olaf Pollack) 15pts
6 Great Britain (Mark Cavendish & Peter Kennaugh) 13pts
7 Italy (Angelo Ciccone & Elia Viviani) 10pts
8 USA (Daniel Holloway & Colby Pearce) 7pts
9 Ukraine (Sergiy Lagkuti & Mykhaylo Raionov) 0pts
10 Switzerland (Alexander Aeschbach & Franco Marvulli) 9pts
11 Netherlands (Pim Ligthart & Wim Stroetinga) 0pts
Two laps down
12 Spain (Unai Elorriaga Zubiaur & David Muntaner Juaneda) 7pts
13 Poland (Lukaz Bujko & Rafal Ratajczyk) 7pts
14 Argentina (Sebastian Donadio & Martin Garrido) 6pts
15 Russia (Mikhail Ignatiev & Alexei Markov) 3pts
16 France (Julien Duval & Morgan Kniesky) 1pt
2009 UCI TRACK CYCLING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
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The CW Hub: Track World Championships index
Women’s points race: Armitstead proves she’s a future champion
Men’s Madison: Danes win as Kennaugh hits the deck
Women’s sprint: Pendleton wins fourth title
Women’s scratch race: Silver for Armitstead
Men’s kilo TT: Nimke beats Sir Chris’s kilo record to take gold
Men’s team pursuit: Britain get fourth
Women’s team pursuit: Britain clinch gold
women’s team sprint: Reade and Pendleton score silver
Men’s scratch race: Cavendish marked out of contention
Men’s individual pursuit: Phinney wins gold
Men’s team sprint: France beat Britain
Men’s Points Race: Newton gets bronze
Women’s individual pursuit: Houvenaghel beaten to silver
500m TT: World record for Krupeckaite, bronze for Pendleton
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GB RIDER PROFILES
2008 TRACK WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS LINKS
Full results from the 2008 track worlds
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Report: Saturday, day four>>
Report: Friday, day three>>
Report: Thursday, day two>>
Report: Wednesday, day one>>