An astonishing pursuit ride by Geraint Thomas and gold medals for Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Chris Newton were the highlights of the first day of the track World Cup meeting in Manchester.
Great Britain’s riders ended the day with four gold medals from the six events. David Daniell was denied by a whisker in the kilometre final. The youngster set a new personal best and looked on course to repeat his win in last year’s Manchester World Cup only to see Germany’s world champion Stefan Nimke go faster.
But the first day was all about the Welsh rider Thomas and his 4-15.015 ride in the pursuit qualifying round. It’s the third fastest pursuit of all time, with only Chris Boardman’s Superman position rides topping it.
Thomas caught the Belgian Dominique Cornu in the final, but at the three-kilometre mark he was up on his time in the qualifying round.
Hoy and Pendleton won their events – the Keirin and the sprint – as the loud and passionate Manchester crowd expected them to.
Chris Newton plotted his way to points race success superbly, and Lizzie Armitstead looked lively in the scratch race, eventually finishing 10th in an event which was won by Australia’s Belinda Goss.
Men’s individual pursuit
Geraint Thomas won the individual pursuit in style, catching his opponent in the final, Dominique Cornu of Belgium.
And at the three-kilometre mark in the final, he was up on his time at the same stage in the qualifying round – an effort which resulted in him recording the third-fastest pursuit of all-time.
The 23-year-old Welshman won the national title with a 4-18 last week, having spent just a fortnight preparing on the track.
His qualifying ride is the fastest since the ultra-aerodynamic ‘Superman’ position was banned in October 1996. Only Chris Boardman has gone quicker, with a world record 4-11 and a 4-13 set using the position at the 1996 Worlds in Manchester.
The time of 4-15.015 was quicker than any Bradley Wiggins has done in competition. Cornu was second in qualifying with a very respectable 4-17.390.
Although Thomas’s time is the quickest since the Superman position was outlawed, it is not counted as a world record. Boardman’s time still stands in the UCI’s official record books.
The bronze medal final was contested by Vitaly Shchedov and David Muntaner, with the Ukraine beating the Spaniard.
And the final was close for a little while, but Cornu’s efforts to try to match Thomas early on quickly began to tell and around the halfway mark the gap went from two to three to more than four seconds.
1 Geraint Thomas (Great Britain)
2. Dominique Cornu (Belgium)
3. Vitaly Shchedov (Ukraine) 4-25.902
4. David Muntaner (Spain) 4-28.609
Sir Chris Hoy stormed to victory in the Keirin final, using his trademark tactic of staying at the front and leading the sprint out from the moment the Derny bike pulls off the track.
This is Hoy’s first major international competition since he crashed out of the Keirin at the World Cup in Copenhagen in February – a crash which kept him out of the World Championships.
Hoy won his first round race, in a heat that also featured Britain’s Jason Kenny, who was third. Kenny made his way into the second round by winning the repechage.
By the end of the repechage round, all of the big favourites were safely through apart from Malaysia’s Azizulhasni Awang and Frenchman Michael D’Almeida. Hoy won his second round race, with Kenny in fifth.
Kenny won the race for seventh to 12th places. In the final, there was a concerted effort to stop Hoy getting the first position just behind the Derny bike but the Olympic champion held his line superbly.
Then Hoy led out and despite a spirited challenge from the Greek rider Christos Volikakis, held on to win the gold medal. World champion Max Levy of Germany took the bronze
1. Chris Hoy (Sky+HD)
2. Christos Volikakis (Greece)
3. Maximilian Levy (Germany)
4. Jason Niblett (Jayco)
5. Yondi Schmidt (Netherlands)
6. Francesco Ceci (Italy)
7th-12th place final
7. Jason Kenny (Great Britain)
8. François Pervis (Cofidis)
9. Shane Perkins (Australia)
10. Andrii Vynokurov (Ukraine)
11. Qi Tang (China)
12. Adrian Teklinski (Alks Stal Grudziaduz)
Victoria Pendleton thrilled the Manchester crowd with victory in the sprint competition, although she was pushed in the semi-finals by the Belarussian rider Olga Panarina and again by Shuang Guo in the final.
Pendleton (Sky+HD) qualified fastest in 10.998 seconds – the only rider to go under 11 seconds for the 200-metre flying sprint.
Great Britain’s young riders Jess Varnish (11th) and Becky James (13th) also got through.
Pendleton beat Olga Streltsova of Russia in round two but Varnish and James bowed out to Simona Krupeckaite and Panarina respectively, meaning they would go on to contest the ‘B’ competition. They met in the ‘B’ final, with James edging out Varnish to take ninth place overall in the sprint.
In the quarter-finals, Pendleton breezed past Miriam Welte of Germany to set up a semi-final with Panarina, who beat Willy Kanis of Holland. Shuang Guo and Simona Krupeckaite were the others to reach the last four.
Panarina caused a minor upset, beating Pendleton in race one of their semi-final, but the Sky+HD rider hit back to win the next two.
Then she met Guo, who disposed of Krupeckaite in her semi-final, and raced into a 1-0 lead. The Chinese rider fought back in race two, but Pendleton came good in the decider.
1. Victoria Pendleton (Sky+HD)
2. Shuang Guo (China)
3. Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania)
4. Olga Panarina (Belarus)
5. Anna Meares (Australia)
6. Miriam Welte (Germany)
7. Willy Kanis (Netherlands)
8. Jinjie Gong (China)
9. Becky James (Great Britain)
10. Jess Varnish (Great Britain)
Men’s points race
Reigning World Cup points race champion Chris Newton plotted his way to victory with a very smart, calculated ride in the final.
Disappointed by the proposals to cut his event from the Olympic Games programme, the Beijing bronze medallist has resolved to carry on regardless until the decision is ratified in December.
And he took out any frustration at the decision by qualifying comfortably, then stamping his mark on the final early on. He rose to the top as the bunch split and a dozen riders gained a lap, giving them 20 bonus points.
It was classic points race riding as Newton judged when to go on the offensive, when to mark and when to hold to perfection. The Polish rider Lukasz Bujko and Roger Kluge emerged as the main threats in the middle of the race.
Kluge attacked towards the end to take a sprint, while Newton failed to score. That narrowed the gap to five points but left the German with a lot to do in the final sprint.
As it was the Hong Kong rider Ho Ting Kwok attacked late on to draw level with Kluge and deny him the silver on the basis of their positions over the finish line.
1. Chris Newton (Great Britain) 37pts
2. Ho Ting Kwok (Hong Kong) 33pts
3. Roger Kluge (Germany) 33pts
4. Lukasz Bujko (Poland) 31pts
5. Peter Schep (Netherlands) 29pts
6. Kazuhiro Mori )Japan) 27pts
7. Eloy Teruel (Spain) 25pts
8. Kenny De Ketele (Belgium) 23pts
9. Andreas Muller (Austria) 23pts
10. Milan Kadlec (Czech Republic) 22pts
Men’s kilometre time trial
World champion Stefan Nimke saved his best for the last couple of laps of his kilometre effort to pip Britain’s David Daniell to the gold medal.
Daniell set a new personal best with a 1-01.698 – better than the time which won him the kilo title at the Manchester World Cup a year ago.
But the German unleashed all his power and experience in the final heat to grab the gold.
1. Stefan Nimke (Germany) 1-01.293
2. David Daniell (Great Britain) 1-01.698
3. Chongyang Wang (China) 1-02.228
4. Tomas Babek (Czech Republic) 1-02.485
5. Scott Sunderland (Jayco) 1-02.626
Women’s scratch race
Australia’s Belinda Goss beat Evgeniya Romanyuta of Russia in the final of the women’s scratch race after six riders gained a lap around halfway through the race.
Goss, Romanyuta, Shelley Olds of America, Skye Lee Armstrong riding for the Australian Rodin team, Vera Koedooder of the Netherlands and Jarmila Kozlikova attacked and worked extremely well together to gain the lap on the bunch.
Lizzie Armitstead of Great Britain and the Belgian rider Kelly Druyts tried to react and for a while it looked like they might get across to the break. But the six continued to press on and once they reached the back of the bunch some of them went to the front to ensure the chasers didn’t also gain.
In the end Armitstead and Druyts were captured by the bunch, leaving the six riders a lap ahead to contest the sprint.
1. Belinda Goss (Australia)
2. Evgeniya Romanyuta (Russia)
3. Shelley Olds (Proman Racing)
4. Skye Lee Armstrong (Rodin)
5. Vera Koedooder (Netherlands)
6. Jarmila Machacova (Czech Republic)
7. Lada Kozlikova (Czech Republic) at one lap
8. Monia Baccaille (Fiamme)
9. Leire Olaberria (Spain)
10. Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain)