Cameron Meyer’s scintillating ride in men’s points race was the highlight of the opening night at the World Track Championships in Copenhagen.
Meyer and Anna Meares gave Australia a flying start to the championships winning the first two gold medals on offer. And at the end of the evening there was a surprise in the men’s team sprint as the Germans got the better of the French, ending their four-year stranglehold on the event at World Championship level.
For Britain it was a night of nearly, but not quite. Wendy Houvenaghel was beaten by the USA’s Sarah Hammer in the individual pursuit final and the men’s team sprinters had to settle for bronze after the Germans and the French went quicker in qualifying.
Sir Chris Hoy’s Look Keo pedal snapped just before the start of the qualifying round leaving GB staff to quickly replace it. In the final, Jason Kenny pulled his foot out of the pedal as he pulled away at the start.
Despite the uncharacterstic problems, Great Britain’s performance director Dave Brailsford was happy with the result. The team has had to adjust having lost Jamie Staff, regarded as the fastest ‘man one’ in the world, to a back injury. Jason Kenny is the new starting man and he did a 17.291 opening lap, which is a world-class time.
In the men’s points race, the 22-year-old Meyer dominated with a display that threw tactical caution to the wind.
After a quiet start, the defending champion made his move a third of the way into the race when he began contesting the sprints. Then he gained a lap with Peter Schep of the Netherlands, Milan Kadlec of the Czech Republic and Ingmar De Poortere of Belgium.
Not content with that, he kicked again to gain a lap on his own and put himself out of reach of the rest. Even with the gold medal in the bag, he still went for the sprint points and ended the race on 70, an incredible 37 clear of second-placed Schep.
Chris Newton of Great Britain rode a strong race but, having missed the attack, was always up against it. However, in the final phase of the race he closed from fifth to fourth place and had the bronze medal in his sights going into the final sprint. Newton needed to beat Kadlec and close a two-point gap to deny him third place.
So, he opened up the sprint from a long way out, with two laps to go, then got out of the saddle to sprint round the final bend only to fade to fourth place on the line.
There was a great start for Australia. Before Meyer’s heroics, Meares won her third 500-metre time trial world title, after victories in Melbourne (2004) and Majorca (2007).
The British team bagged a silver and a bronze on day one. Wendy Houvenaghel qualified second fastest in the individual pursuit and was beaten by Sarah Hammer in the final.
And in the men’s team sprint, the Great Britain trio welcomed back Sir Chris Hoy to the line-up after he missed last year’s Worlds in Poland. There was a hold-up at the start of their qualifying heat when there was a problem with Hoy’s pedal.
Although they set a good time of 43.802 seconds for the three-lap event, both the French and the Germans went faster when they shared the track in the final heat, bumping the Brits down to the bronze medal race.
Before the start of the bronze medal race against China, there was another pedal-related issue as mechanic Ernie Feargrieve was called on to sort a problem with Jason Kenny’s bike.
Britain’s team – Ross Edgar, Kenny and Hoy – clinched the bronze medal with a time of 43.590 seconds, half-a-second faster than the Chinese. In the gold medal final, the Germans pulled off a shock with Robert Forstemann, Max Levy and Stefan Nimke defeating the French trio of Gregory Bauge, Michael D’Almeida and Kevin Sireau.
Jason Kenny leads the British trio to Bronze in the men’s team sprint
The action continues on Thursday with finals in the women’s team sprint, the men’s scratch race, the men’s Keirin, the women’s team pursuit and the men’s individual pursuit.
Britain’s best chances of a medal come in the women’s team pursuit and the men’s Keirin. The women’s trio have won both World Championship titles since the event was introduced. And if Hoy were to win the Keirin, it would be the tenth world title of his career.
But it is the men’s individual pursuit that is being eagerly awaited. There’s no British competitor but all eyes are on the potential showdown between two sensational young riders – defending champion Taylor Phinney of the USA and Jack Bobridge of Australia. To add extra spice it could also the battle of the American pro teams: Radioshack versus Garmin-Transitions. But before we see a showdown, they have to take the top two places in qualifying.
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Chris Newton rode to fourth in the men’s points race
WORLD TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS BRIEF RESULTS
Women’s 500m time trial
1. Anna Meares (AUS) 33:381 seconds
2. Simona Krupeckaite (LTU) 33.462
3. Olga Panarina (BLR) 33.779
12. Jessica Varnish (GBR) 34.992
16. Rebecca James (GBR) 35.515
Men’s 40km points race
1. Cameron Meyer (AUS) 70
2. Peter Schep (NED) 33
3. Milan Kadlec (CZE) 27
4. Chris Newton (GBR) 26
Women’s individual pursuit
Gold medal final
Sarah Hammer (USA) 3:28.601 bt Wendy Houvenaghel (GBR) 3:32.496
Bronze medal final
Vilija Sereikaite (LTU) 3:32.085 bt Alison Shanks (NZL) 3:32.733
Men’s team sprint
Gold medal final
Germany 43.433 beat France 43.453
Bronze medal final
Great Britain 43.590 beat China 44.002
MEDAL TABLE AFTER DAY ONE
1. Australia 2 golds
2. Germany 1 gold
2. USA 1 gold
4. Great Britain 1 silver 1 bronze
4. Lithuania 1 silver 1 bronze
6. France 1 silver
6. Netherlands 1 silver
8. Belarus 1 bronze
8. Czech Republic 1 bronze
2010 Track World Champs: Reports/results
one: Wednesday, March 24
one: Meyer and Meares put Aussies on top of the world
Track World Championships: Results
one as it happened (Text coverage): Wednesday, March 24
qualifies second fastest in pursuit
2010 Track World