News from day 1 of the UCI World Track Championships

 

WOMEN’S INDIVIDUAL PURSUIT

 

The 2010 World Track Championships at the Ballerup Super Arena in Copenhagen opened with the qualifying session for the Women's Individual Puruit. Sarah Hammer of the USA dominated the session, qualifying for the final 2.5 seconds ahead of Wendy Houvehaghel, of GB.

 

Sarah Hammer's website still describes her as a World Champion and Future Olympic Gold Medallist - and on this form you wouldn't have ruled it out, had our friends from the UCI not removed her event from the Games. But the website refers not to the title she won today or to the 2012 Olympics, but to the back-to-back titles she won in 2006 and 2007 and to her aspirations for Beijing. It might seem odd, when everyone with a bike seems to be on twitter and catching up with friends on Facebook is part of most riders' pre-race preparation, that anyone would let their website get so out of date, but Hammer doesn't do things quite the same way as other athletes.

 

A successful junior, she left the sport in 2003 but returned a year later, inspired by the 2004 Olympics. With two World Titles under her belt, she was among the favourites for Gold in Beijing, but 2007 was a nightmare - with a serious back injury again taking her away from the track. She returned in time for the Olympics, but couldn't recapture her previous form and could only manage 5th place.

 

Now based in Switzerland - where her coach and husband Andy Sparks is a Coach on the UCI Development team, Hammer looks to be back on track. She finished 7th in the World Cup Standings - which, along with missing the 2009 World Championships - accounted for her relatively low ranking this year - but she only entered one round - in Cali, Colimbia - and she won that.

 

That low ranking meant that she started in heat 7 of 11 and - having taken six seconds out of the leader at that point - Ellie van Dijk of the Netherlands, she had a long wait. But with a time of 3:27.826 she must have been feeling confident that she was at least in with a shout of a medal and, in truth, nobody realy came close. Viljia Sereikaite of Lithuania went second briefly, four seconds off the pace, in heat 8 before Great Britain's Wendy Houvenaghel - Silver Medalist in Pruskow last year - closed the gap to two and a half seconds. The last heat could have provided an upset - for both Hammer and Houvenaghel - with defending World Champion Alison Shanks of New Zealand up against an in-from Tara Whitten of Canada - runner-up to Hammer in Cali and 3rd at the final World Cup round in Beijing. It wasn't to be. Shanks didn't look at her best and could only manage 3rd fastest; Whitte could do no better than 9th.

 

In the final, Houvenaghel - 2nd in Beijing, 2nd in Pruszkow - was away quicker but, in truth, she was always second best today. She was down within 3 laps, a second down by the 1km mark and 2 seconds down by 2000 metres, with the Gold medal slipping away fast. By the end she was 4 seconds off Hammer's pace.

 

Serikaite took the the Bronze - with last year's Champion Shanks missing out on a medal - but it was Hammer that took the headlines. She rides again in the Points race on Sunday.

 

Picture courtesy of www.trackcycling.me.uk the only website dedicated to track cycling - from local track leagues to top level international competition

 

Women’s Individual Pursuit Result

GOLD Sarah HAMMER USA 3:28.601

SILVER Wendy HOUVENAGHEL GBR 3:32.496

BRONZE Vilija SEREIKAITE LTU 3:32.085

4 Alison SHANKS NZL 3:32.733

 

Qualifying

1 Sarah HAMMER USA 3:27.826

2 Wendy HOUVENAGHEL GBR 3:30.377

3 Alison SHANKS NZL 3:31.259

4 Vilija SEREIKAITE LTU 3:31.905

5 Ellen VAN DIJK NED 3:33.704

6 Lesya KALITOVSKA UKR 3:36.159

7 Jaime NIELSEN NZL 3:37.212

8 Vera KOEDOODER NED 3:37.466

9 Tara WHITTEN CAN 3:38.315

10 Fan JIANG CHN 3:38.519

11 Pascale SCHNIDER SUI 3:39.111

12 Ah Reum NA KOR 3:39.518

13 Sarah KENT AUS 3:40.779

14 Verena JOOS GER 3:41.092

15 Dalila RODRIGUEZ HERNANDEZ CUB 3:41.277

16 Charlotte BECKER GER 3:42.068

17 Elissavet CHANTZI GRE 3:44.802

18 Ausrine TREBAITE LTU 3:45.286

19 Vaida PIKAUSKAITE LTU 3:45.782

20 Debora GALVEZ LOPEZ ESP 3:46.051

21 Nontasin CHANPENG THA 3:54.945

22 Wan Yiu Jamie WONG HKG 3:59.093

 

 

WOMEN’S 500m TIME TRIAL

 

If the Women's Individual Pursuit was full of drama and human interest, the 500m Time Trial couldn't really have been more straightforward. Australia's Anna Meares has been on form all winter and nobody could touch her today. Grinning from ear to ear - you know when Meares is feeling good - she set the fastest opening lap by a tenth of a second and was only a couple of hundredths off Silver Medalist Simona Krupeckaite's closing lap time. It was a confident performance from Meares and she look delighted on the podium. Olga Panarina form Belarus took the Bronze.

 

The two British riders, Rebecca James and Jessica Varnish could only manage 16th and 12th respectively, although it should be remembered that James has been preparing for these Championships in between sitting school exams. 

 

Picture courtesy of www.trackcycling.me.uk the only website dedicated to track cycling - from local track leagues to top level international competition

 

Women’s 500m Time Trial Result

GOLD Anna MEARES AUS 33.381

SILVER Simona KRUPECKAITE LTU 33.462

BRONZE PANARINA Olga BLR 33.779

4 Willy KANIS NED 33.801

5 Sandie CLAIR FRA 33.992

6 Kaarle McCULLOCH AUS 34.349

7 Miriam WELTE GER 34.407

8 Jinjie GONG CHN 34.538

9 Lisandra GUERRA RODRIGUEZ CUB 34.674

10 Junhong LIN CHN 34.803

11 Wai Sze LEE HKG 34.974

12 Jessica VARNISH GBR 34.992

13 Virginie CUEFF FRA 35.017

14 Monique SULLIVAN CAN 35.334

15 Yvonne HIJGENAAR NED 35.418

16 Rebecca JAMES GBR 35.515

17 STRELTSOVA Olga RUS 35.601

18 Gintare GAIVENYTE LTU 35.603

19 Helena CASAS ROIGE ESP 35.778

20 Renata DABROWSKA POL 35.864

21 Elisa FRISONI ITA 36.255

 

Picture courtesy of www.trackcycling.me.uk the only website dedicated to track cycling - from local track leagues to top level international competition

 

Thank you to www.trackcycling.me.uk the only website dedicated to track cycling - from local track leagues to top level international competition - for the words and pictures

 

Check out the results from the other days here

Day 1: 500mTT and Individual Pursuit

Day 2: Team Pursuit and Team Sprint

Day 3: Scratch race and Sprint

Day 4: Sprint and Omnium

 

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