Team pursuiters grab Britain's first gold as Aussies edge opening night

manchester track world cup 2011, track, world cup, wc, great britain, sky, pendleton, hoy, thomas, wiggins

Manchester track World Cup 2011: Coverage Index>>>>

Wendy Houvenaghel, Joanna Rowsell and Sarah Storey were within an ace of breaking the team pursuit world record as defeated New Zealand to clinch Great Britain's first gold medal of the weekend.

The British team's time of 3-19.757 was just a quarter of a second outside the world record, held by the USA.

Afterwards Rowsell predicted that it might take a time in the region of 3-17 to win the World Championships in the Netherlands next month.

Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny clashed in an all-British, all-Sky semi-final in the sprint competition. With only one place for each nation in the sprint at next summer's Olympic Games, this was the beginning of an 18-month battle between the pair to decide who should take that place.

The 22-year-old from Bolton took a surprisingly comfortable win in the first race, after leading from the front. And he had to come from behind to win the second.

In the final, Kenny succumbed to Frenchman Kevin Sireau, the best sprinter in the world at the moment, despite winning the first race in style. Sireau struck back to take the gold medal, although the decider was very close, with less than a wheel length in it. Hoy took bronze by beating Germany's Maximilian Levy 2-0.

Australia have not brought all their big hitters to Manchester for the final World Cup round of the track season, but they had a successful opening night.

Rohan Dennis pipped Geraint Thomas in a thrilling individual pursuit final. The Welshman held the balance of power after a blistering start, which had him on course to break the world record that was recently set by Aussie Jack Bobridge. That was until the final kilometre when he began to fade and Dennis turned the screw to win in a time of 4-15.614.

The Australian world champions Kaarle McCulloch and Anna Meares won the team sprint in typical fashion, beating the Chinese pair in the final.

Britain's team of Jess Varnish and Becky James did well to qualify for the bronze medal race, with Varnish setting a personal best for the opening lap. Although they were beaten by the experienced French team of Sandie Clair and Clara Sanchez in the final, it showed that there's great strength in depth.

Sky's team of Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade surprisingly failed to qualify for a medal ride after they failed to break the 34-second barrier - admittedly only less than the blink of an eye - with a time of 34.001. Pendleton false started and they were unable to find the speed they needed.

After a gruelling first day of competition, Ben Swift was left to rue his misfortune in the points race which threatened to knock him out of contention in the omnium, which concludes on Saturday.

Having finished outside the top ten in the flying lap - not one of his strongest events - he had been expected to get back on track in the points race. However, the bunch split in two midway through the race and Swift was on the wrong side of the split as the leaders managed to gain a lap.

He managed to overcome some of that frustration with a great ride in the elmination race, surviving until the very end before being pipped into second place by the Italian Elia Viviani.

With three events remaining, Swift lay sixth in the omnium but had a lot of ground to make up to get back into medal contention.

manchester track world cup 2011, track, world cup, wc, great britain, sky, pendleton, hoy, thomas, wiggins

Jason Kenny edges out Sir Chris Hoy in the men's sprint semi-finals

manchester track world cup 2011, track, world cup, wc, great britain, sky, pendleton, hoy, thomas, wiggins

Geraint Thomas on his way to silver in the men's individual pursuit

manchester track world cup 2011, track, world cup, wc, great britain, sky, pendleton, hoy, thomas, wiggins

Sarah Storey celebrates a World Cup gold medal in the women's team pursuit




1. Kevin Sireau (Fra) 9.983sec

2. Chris Hoy (Sky) 10.046

3. Jason Kenny (Sky) 10.049

4. Maximilian Levy (Ger) 10.144

5. Scott Sunderland (Jay) 10.235

6. Lei Zhang (Chn) 10.256

7. Michael D'Almeida (Fra) 10.258

8. Damian Zielinski (Poil) 10.269

9. Teun Mulder (Ned) 10.293

10. Azizulhasni Awang (YSD) 10.310

11. Carsten Bergemann (Erd) 10.315

12. Tsubasa Kitatsuru (Jpn) 10.325

13. Andrii Vynokurov (Ukr) 10.329

14. Robert Forstemann (Erd) 10.333

15. Miao Zhang (Chn) 10.363

16. Bernard Esterhuizen (RSA) 10.386

1/16 finals

Kevin Sireau (Fra) beat Berna Esterhuizen (RSA)

Chris Hoy (Sky) beat Miao Zhang (Chn)

Jason Kenny (Sky) beat Robert Forstemann (Erd)

Max Levy (Ger) beat Andrii Vynokurov (Ukr)

Tsubasa Kitatsuru (Jpn) beat Scott Sunderland (Jay)

Lei Zhang (Chn) beat Carsten Bergemann (Erd)

Michael D'Almeida (Fra) beat Azizulhasni Awang (YSD)

Teun Mulder (Ned) beat Damian Zielinski (Pol)


Kevin Sireau (Fra) beat Teun Mulder (Ned) 2-0

Chris Hoy (Sky) beat Michael D'Almeida (Fra) 2-0

Jason Kenny (Sky) beat Lei Zhang (Chn) 2-0

Maximilian Levy (Ger) beat Tsubasa Kitatsuru (Jpn) 2-0


Kevin Sireau (Fra) beat Maximilian Levy (Ger) 2-0

Jason Kenny (Sky) beat Chris Hoy (Sky) 2-0

Bronze medal final

Chris Hoy (Sky) beat Maximilian Levy (Ger) 2-0

Gold medal final

Kevin Sireau (Fra) beat Jason Kenny (Sky) 2-1

Flying lap

1. Shane Archbold (NZL) 13.291sec

2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) 13.299

3. Alois Kankovsky (Cze) 13.316

12. Ben Swift (GB) 13.586

Points race

1. Shane Archbold (NZ) 13pts

2. Rafal Ratajczyk (Pol) 13pts

3. Elia Viviani (Ita) 11pts

15. Ben Swift (GB) -15pts

Elimination race

1. Elia Viviani (Ita)

2. Ben Swift (GB)

3. Rafal Ratajczyk (Pol)

Omnium standings after three events

1. Shane Archbold (NZ) 6

2. Elia Viviani (Ita) 9

3. Rafal Rafaczyk (Pol) 16

6. Ben Swift (GB) 29


1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) 4-15.519

2. Geraint Thomas (GB) 4-16.883

3. Marc Ryan (NZ) 4-21.637

4. Jenning Huizenga (Ned) 4-22.805

Bronze medal final

Marc Ryan (Ned) 4-24.866 beat Jenning Huizenga (Ned) 4-27.164

Gold medal final

Rohan Dennis (Aus) 4-15.614 beat Geraint Thomas (GB) 4-16.477

Qualifying round

1. Great Britain (Houvenaghel, Rowsell, Storey) 3-20.962

2. New Zealand (Ellis, Nielsen, Shanks) 3-20.988

3. Ouch (Hammer, Bausch, Tamayo) 3-23.048

4. Netherlands (Wild, Koedooder, Van Dijk) 3-23.179

5. Team 100% Me (Colclough, King, L Trott) 3-23.355

6. Australia (Hoskins, Cure, King) 3-24.444

7. Germany (Brennauer, Becker, Sandig) 3-25.600

8. Lithuania (Sereikaite, Pikauskaite, Trebaite) 3-27.958

9. Belgium (D'Hoore, Daams, Druyts) 3-28.443

10. Korea (Lee, Kim, Na) 3-28.947

Bronze medal final

Ouch 3-23.138 beat Netherlands 3-23.804

Gold medal final

Great Britain 3-19.757 beat New Zealand 3-20.828

Qualifying round

1. China (Gong, Junhong) 33.140

2. Australia (Meares, McCulloch) 33.372

3. France (Sanchez, Clair) 33.517

4. Great Britain (James, Varnish) 33.581

8. Sky (Pendleton, Reade) 34.001

Bronze medal final

France 33.347 beat Great Britain 33.651

Gold medal final

Australia 33.017 beat China 33.173

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Sports journalist Lionel Birnie has written professionally for Sunday Times, Procycling and of course Cycling Weekly. He is also an author, publisher, and co-founder of The Cycling Podcast. His first experience covering the Tour de France came in 1999, and he has presented The Cycling Podcast with Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe since 2013. He founded Peloton Publishing in 2010 and has ghostwritten and published the autobiography of Sean Kelly, as well as a number of other sports icons.