Laura Trott won her second world title at the Track World Championships in Melbourne today, dominating the second day of action in the omnium to take gold.
Starting the day level on points with Australian Annette Edmondson, Trott came third in the pursuit, one place ahead of Edmondson. Knowing the final event, the 500m time trial, was her strongest, all she had to do was mark her opponents in the scratch race.
“All I was thinking was ‘don’t let her get ahead of me’. I couldn’t let her, or the Canadian, or Sarah Hammer go up the road. That’s all I was focused on,” Trott said.
Trott was stuck to Edmondson’s wheel like glue, watching riders who weren’t a threat overall go off the front, knowing that each rider that went ahead was making Trott’s position stronger. At the end, all she had to do was nip past Edmondson on the line.
It was a smart piece of riding, learnt partly from her coaches but partly from years of experience that belie her age. “I’m not that old but I’ve been doing it for a long time. I started track racing when I was eight, down at Welwyn track league.”
Both Trott and Edmondson are young, 19 and 20, whereas the two riders behind them in third and fourth, Sarah Hammer and Tara Whitten are old hands at this, winning the last three omnium titles between them. But Trott isn’t intimidated by anyone. “Why should I give them any more respect than they give me?” she said.
“I’m quick enough, and as good as them in a bunch race. Just because I’m maybe not as experienced. I shouldn’t set myself back just because they’ve been around a lot longer than me. I just get stuck in and hope for the best.”
Trott’s win in the final event was a mere formality (she won the 500m tt at the London World Cup, the Euros and last year’s World Champs). She has now one three of the last four international omniums she has ridden, and came third in the other.
Selectors face a big decision
Jason Kenny and Chris Hoy finished second and third in the sprint competition respectively to give the British selectors a headache ahead of the Olympic Games. With only one Olympic sprint spot per nation in 2012, one of them will miss out.
The riders will be told soon who has got the spot to help them best prepare, and the decision is made on five selection events: the National Championships, European Championships, two World Cups and here at the Worlds.
“I think if Jason had won tonight it would have been a no brainier,” said Hoy. “However, there are five selection events of which I won three, but this was by far the most important, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
Kenny lost to Bauge in the final, but the judges deprived everyone of a thrilling last race for relegating Kenny from the second leg. Bauge had won the first comfortably, so GB sprint coach Iain Dyer decided Kenny should go from the gun. He did, and amazingly held Bauge off. The Frenchman got on to Kenny’s wheel in the final banking but then blew and sat up.
But the judges penalised Kenny for coming out of the sprinter’s lane in the home straight, but by this point Bauge had sat up so Kenny’s move didn’t affect him. The two had bumped each other in the final banking, but that wasn’t what Kenny was relegated for.
The plan had been to tire Bauge out for the third race. “I think after a ride like that it would’ve been 50-50, anyone’s race.” Kenny said. “He was completely cream crackered, lying on the floor. I wasn’t much better myself, although I was trying to put a bit of a brave face on. Inside I was on fire.”
“I think we only would’ve had about 10 minutes before the next ride so it would’ve brought it down to a bit of a slog in that last ride.”
Swift wins his second medal
Ben Swift took a fine silver medal in the points race, losing out to Australian Cameron Meyer, who gained a lap in the final throws of the race. Swift had sprinted well throughout the race to pick up points, but had held some back expecting Meyer, winner in 2010, to go for the lap.
When Meyer from the lead group he and Swift were in, the Brit was slightly out of position and couldn’t respond. Meyer caught the bunch with two laps to go and jumped to the top of the standings. This allowed Swift to win the final sprint and move above Belgian De Ketele into the silver medal position.
Australia dominated the individual pursuit winning gold and silver with Michael Hepburn and Jack Bobridge. Welsey Gough of New Zealand took the bronze to stop an Australian clean sweep of the podium. Geraint Thomas rode a 4:17 in qualifying, but incredibly that wasn’t good enough to get in to either final.
Anna Meares blasted her way through the keirin rounds, winning every race with the determination no doubt fuelled by her loss in the sprint competition yesterday. She was untouchable throughout and the home crowd loved it. Winner of three world titles last year, she simply had to come away with at least one this year, and this was her last real chance.
Pendleton started the keirin, but was obviously paying the price of a tough sprint campaign yesterday. “I’m just really glad it’s over, because I’m really sore. I’ve got quite bad whiplash,” she said. “This morning I thought ‘I don’t know if I can get on my bike today’. I had some physio, was crunched a little bit, and that kind of helped.”
“I didn’t think it was really possible coming into competition to win the sprint – I thought I had more chance in the team sprint and the keirin to be perfectly honest, so it’s been a pleasant surprise.”
This was Pendleton’s last ever World Championships. She has now ridden in 11, made the sprint semi-finals in 10 and won nine world titles: “It hasn’t been a bad run for just over a decade of doing this,” she said.
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