Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Spanish woes, UCI looking on

The International Cycling Union (UCI) is closely following the evolution of the situation concerning the three Spanish events in the UCI WorldTour - Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Volta Ciclista al Pais Vasco and Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian – which are currently facing economic related difficulties that could threaten the continued organisation of these benchmark races for professional cycling.

Conscious of the fundamental importance of saving cycling’s heritage, as well as the International Federation’s vital role in helping all involved in the sport, the UCI immediately took action in order to evaluate these cases and study possible measures that could be taken.

To ensure the best possible support for the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, the UCI has already established the necessary contact with all the parties implicated on an institutional level. At this stage discussions are focussed UCI’s possible participation   in a sustainable development plan for this event over the coming years, the terms of which are yet to be defined.

Concerning the two Basque races, UCI is also in the process of collecting all the information necessary in order to come up with an intervention strategy that can deal with the urgency of the situation and at the same time the principals of solidarity that govern the UCI WorldTour.

The UCI reiterated that in 2011 a contribution from the UCI WorldTour reserve Fund was deployed in favour of the GP Ouest France de Plouay, a French UCI WorldTour event.

UCI President Mr Pat McQuaid declared, “In this very difficult economic context facing the organisers, the cycling world expects the structures put in place by the UCI to be capable of providing a concrete contribution to the movement as a whole. I can guarantee that we are working all-out, and that despite the fact that the resources at our disposal are fairly limited, we will do all we can to offer our support to the organisers.

“Although it is true that the globalisation of cycling is our strategic priority,” added Mr McQuaid, “the roots and traditions of this fantastic sport are what make it so rich and we must be capable of preserving them.

“Among its other prerogatives, the UCI also deals with these very important aspects that are linked to the stability and economic reinforcement of the professional sector,” the UCI President concluded. “I therefore hope that the UCI will once again be able to contribute to finding a solution.”

Team CCN to Brunei

More proof of the globalisation of cycling, the latest Continental team registered by the UCI in 2012 is from… the State of Brunei Darussalam, in South-East Asia.
UCI Continental Teams are sprouting in all the countries of the planet. The latest to date, CCN Cycling Team, which closes the list of registrations in 2012, is affiliated to the State of Brunei Darussalam, 381,000 inhabitants, situated on the island of Borneo, in South-East Asia.
The team was not conceived purely with performance in mind, but rather race experience. In this team, the young riders’ apprenticeships and the boost to cycling are more important than the quest for results. Haji Rosli Bin Haji Mohidin, the President of Brunei Darussalam’s cycling Federation, which supports the project, explains: “For us, a UCI Continental Team is an opportunity to help cycling in our country. We hope to attract new licensed riders and new sponsors.”
Team manager Jamaludin Mohd Yafiz commented, “I feel we are really lucky to get a continental team in 2012 and now cycling in Brunei will be able to develop much faster.”
Composed of 12 riders, the CCN Cycling Team will comprise a majority of athletes from Brunei, in accordance with the UCI regulation. These six athletes, aged 19 to 24, will be accompanied by a young Indonesian, 7th in his national tour in 2011, and five experienced riders: two  Americans, an Australian, a Dutch and a German.
Some of them former professionals, aged 36 to 46, these seasoned riders have all competed in UCI events in Asia over the last few seasons.
The creation of the CCN Cycling Team is in line with the net increase in UCI Continental Teams throughout the world. The Asian continent is particularly active in this area. In 2005 it had 13 Continental teams compared with 30 this season.

Building of 9 Knights

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Monday, 20 February 2012

Cycle passion 2

Aussies confident after dress rehearsal in London

Australia is a medal contender in every Olympic track cycling event according to Cycling Australia's National Performance Director speaking after the final round of the UCI World Cup raced on the Games velodrome in London.
Kevin Tabotta's prediction came after the men's 4km pursuit team rode the third fastest time in history to defeat arch rivals Great Britain and rising star Annette Edmondson claimed a surprise silver medal in the women's omnium competition on the fourth and final day of racing.
The Cyclone's quartet was made up of reigning world champions Jack Bobridge, 22, Rohan Dennis, 21,and Michael Hepburn, 20, with 18 year old Alex Edmondson completing the line up. They qualified fastest on Thursday night and in the final cranked up the pace to win gold in a time of 3:54.615. That was almost two seconds quicker than Britain's Steven Burke, Edward Clancy, Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas who clocked 3:56.330 for second place. It was also the third best time ever ridden behind the world record time of 3.53.314 set by Great Britain in Beijing and the time of 3.54.395 ridden by the Brits in the Manchester World Cup in 2009.
"Our main purpose was to come here and win," said Bobridge who despite his own youth is the elder statesman of the team dubbed a 'boy band' by some British media because of their tender years. "It's the quickest we've ever gone before and it's a massive stepping stone for the whole team and the whole group. To be five six months out from Games and to do that is a good sign.
"We knew the track was obviously really quick and that it would take a (3.) 54, 55 to win (so) being able to do it was awesome," said Bobridge who is the world record holder in the individual pursuit and who, since stepping into the senior team in 2008 has won two world titles and a Commonwealth Games team pursuit gold medal. But he says at no point can the team afford to become complacent.
"We're never going to give them an inch, they're a world class team and world record holders," said Bobridge. "We wouldn't give any team an inch starting from the beginning, through to the finish and to race across the line. Never for one minute in the race do we let our guard down."
He says he expects the world record will fall if not at April's worlds titles in Melbourne, then in London in August.
"I think come the Games we are going to see around the 3:51, 3:50 mark," he said. "We have proved it over the past few years, we are getting quicker every time we get on the boards."
Hepburn said the event felt more like a world championship than a world cup because of the crowd support for Britain and complimented teenager Edmondson for maintaining his calm before and during the race.
"Alex is the fastest 18 year old in the world now and it must have been pretty intimidating lining up alongside three world champions but he did a great job," said Hepburn as the object of his praise lay prostrate on the concrete floor of the media interview area trying to get air back into his lungs.
"I gave it 110 prcent and I couldn't see straught by the end," said Edmondson at a later media conference. "I was seeing stars."
"Alex hasn't got the physical maturity of the other three guys so his job was to do half lap turns and make sure he maintained the speed so the next guy coming through behind him didn't have to pick it up and he did it perfectly," said Cycling Australia track endurance coach Ian McKenzie who left the remaining member of the 2011 world champion team, Luke Durbridge, out of the starting four in favour of Edmondson and has multiple world champion, Cameron Meyer, Glenn O'Shea and Mitchell Mulhern also waiting in the wings.
"We'll always run five or six guys in the mix all the way through and that's important for them and they understand that internal competition drives them along," said Tabotta of the fierce competition to earn a men's pursuit berth for London. "But there will come a time when we'll settle the team in and move forward towards August.
Tabotta says he wsn't surprised by the fast time ridden by the Australian team considering their credentials.
"We've really been on top for the last couple of years but it is always a challenge to stay on top," said Tabotta. "When you're coming from behind it is sometimes an easier task, easier to keep people's heads on and expectations at a level but when you're competing from the front you have to keep the wolves at bay and keep lifting it a notch every time.
"The challenge for the Olympics in August is whether we can go two or three seconds faster to win the gold medal," he said predicting Australia would also challenge across the other nine events on the program. "We've worked pretty hard over the last four years to give ourselves more options and I don't think I'm being unrealistic in saying we believe we're in the hunt in most Olympic events but the difference between first place and fourth place is really up to them on the day.
"It's easy to be favourite going in and run fourth or fifth but also quite possible for riders on the fringe to step up and win medals," Tabotta said. "I think we're a medal chance in every event."
One of the events that perhaps hadn't been on the medal radar for Australia before this week is the women's omnium but Annette Edmondson, 20, the elder sister of pursuit rider Alex, has changed that with her silver medal performance in a world class field in what was her first omnium at international level.
"Three or four months ago we weren't sure what we could do with the women's omnium but Nettie has come on so quickly it's put her right in the mix and with young talent you can see big turnarounds in six months," said Tabotta. "I think the youth, in not just our team but across a few teams, could bring some surprises at the Olympics."
Edmondson backed up for the six race omnium after riding in the women's pursuit team that claimed the bronze medal on Friday in a world record time that was later broken by Great Britain in the gold medal race.
Edmondson firstly had to earn a place in the final through yesterday's qualifying points race after which she kicked off her omnium campaign with the fourth fastest time in the flying lap. In the points race she placed eighth and was fourth in the elimination race to put her in the lead going into todauy's second and final day of omnium competition. Fifth in the pursuit moved her back to second overall and she was stil in second after finishing sixth in the scratch race. That put her in medal contention with only the 500m time trial to race.
"Four days of racing and seven races the last two days is a big ask but I felt most of the others were in the same boat so it was just keep your head and understand they're feeling it too," said Edmondson.
In the end her 500 metre time was good enough to put her at the top of the table on 20 points and equal with America's Sara Hammer. But when officials tallied the times posted in the flying lap, pursuit and time trial events, Hammer came out two seconds ahead of Edmondson.
"My 3.41 in the pursuit I wasn't that happy with and when it came down to the count back that's where I suffered," she said. "It's the next thing I'll work towards for the next shot I get at it but it was definitely a great opportunity to be able to ride against these girls and for it to be my first one and for me to show I can keep my head and mix it with the big names."
While the endurance riders were on the podium it was a hard day in the office for the sprint group.
Reigning world champion, Anna Meares, fought her way into the keirin final through the repechage but after two days of world class performances wasn't able to match her fresher opponents and finished sixth. Her team sprint world champion partner Kaarle McCulloch didn't progress through the repechage round.
In the men's sprint Shane Perkins qualified seventh fastest in a time of 10.162 but in his first round match up was relegated after he and rival Matthew Crampton (GBR) both rode into the sprinter's lane at the same time which saw an accelerating Perkins unable to stop himself from riding into the back wheel of Crompton. Perkins was then out paced in the B-draw quarter finals.
Scott Sunderland was eleventh fastest with his fying 200 metre qualifying time of 10.250 but that put him in a first round clash with reigning sprint world champion Jason Kenny of Great Britain. He raced well in the B-draw though to eventually finish in ninth place.
At the end of racing Britain emerged on top of the medal table with five gold, one silver and two bronze medals while Australia finished second with two gold, three silver and two bronze medals.
340 riders from 48 nations and 18 trade teams contested the four-day competition that was the official test event for the 2012 Olympic Games. It is the last round of the four round series that kicked off in Astana last November before heading to Colombia in December and China last month. After the World Cup Series the world's best cyclists will head to Melbourne to contest the 2012 UCI Track World Championships from 4 to 8 April. The Australian Cyclones for the world championships will be named on 14 March.
The team for the London UCI World Cup round and results summary is listed below:
  • Melissa Hoskins - scratch race
  • Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Michael Hepburn, Alex Edmondson - team pursuit
  • Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch - team sprint (new Australian record of 32.828)
  • Anna Meares - sprint (flying 200m Australian record in qualifying of 10.939)
  • Annette Edmondson - omnium
  • Josie Tomic, Amy Cure & Annette Edmondson - team pursuit (new Australian record of 3:19.164)
  • Amy Cure - individual pursuit

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Cycle Passion 1

Handbags and handlebars it is

Reigning world champion, Australian Anna Meares and Great Britain's Olympic champion Victorian Pendleton staged an epic duel in the women's sprint competition but neither walked away with gold on day three of the final round of the UCI Track World Cup Series on London's Olympic Velodrome.
That honour went to China's Shuang Gui while Meares claimed silver and Pendleton finished fourth behind Hong Kong surprise packet Wai Sze Lee.
Meares and Pendleton are cycling royalty who between them have won dozens of world and Olympic medals and their encounter in tonight's sprint semi-finals will go down as one of the most hard fought contest.
"I don't think I've seen in the history of women's sprinting three matches go 11.3, 11.1, 11.2 (seconds for the final 200 metres) so we really pushed each other to the limits but unfortunately we paid for it in the medal rounds," said Meares after being beaten in two straight heats by Guo, the 2008 Olympic Games sprint bronze medallist.
But the story began earlier in the day when Meares clocked an Australian record time of 10.939 seconds for the flying 200 metres to be top seed and the only rider to break 11 seconds in the sprint qualifying round. Pendleton meantime qualified fourth fastest in 11.111 putting the pair on a collision course for a semi-final battle.
Both comfortably dispensed with their rivals in the early rounds to set up what would prove to be the feature bout of the evening session of racing.
"I felt a bit nervous, I felt very excited, I felt prepared, I was prepared for anything. I haven't raced Victoria since the world championships almost a year ago," said Meares who in 2011 beat Pendleton in three before going on to win the sprint world title in two straight heats over Simona Krupeckaite of Lithuania.
"I was expecting her, off the back of the fantastic team sprint she and Jess Varnish rode yesterday, to have some fantastic form and I wasn't let down."
In their first encounter Meares led out and kept Pendleton high on the track smoothly increasing her pace to propel herself into the bell lap with too much speed for Pendleton who couldn't get around her. In the second heat Pendleton led out and on the first lap stalled in the back straight in a bid to force Meares to the front but the Australian held her nerve until she was ready to pounce. However Pendleton was ready this time and latched onto Meares' rear wheel before powering past her on the line to even the score.
The two warriors then retreated to separate corners of the track for a 15 minute respite like prize fighters who had gone nine rounds in the ring and were still even on points.
In the third and deciding race Meares shadowed Pendleton's every move until the bell lap when she spotted a gap and went for it diving down the track and underneath Pendleton whose reaction time was too slow to counter the move which sealed the win for Meares.
"I saw an opportunity and when you see an opportunity you have to take it," said Meares. "I'm not sure whether she saw me or not or saw me late but I just had to commit, I was on an angle that was quite precarious but I did have right of way in the sprint lane and (I'm) very proud that I didn't hesitate on that one and made the move.
"You couldn't hear it but I was down the back straight going 'Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh', she said screaming and motioning as if throwing the handlebars from side to side. "I was just trying to get everything I could out of it (because) I knew she was coming.
"But that's what you have to do at these sort of competitions you've got to find another level and you have to challenge yourself and I believe I did that tonight."
However the energy expended in the semi-finals left her little in the tank for the gold medal final which for her came just six minutes later.
"That's nasty, that's nasty in anyone's books," said Meares of the compressed world cup sprint program. "It's just a challenge and I had to go out and deal with it as best I could and unfortunately Guo dealt with it much better than I but I think I'll be better for it.
"That's the name of the game and it could happen at Olympic Games (that I) draw the toughest girl in the field in the semis but still have to back up for the final," said Meares. "Guo had two races in her semis but that's just the way the cookie crumbles.
"When you're physically fatigued it then becomes difficult to mentally make the decisions required on the flip of a coin. You have to think so quickly when you're legs are burning and your head's going, 'No, go go go, you're fighting with yourself'," said the Beijing silver medallist. "I've taken a lot from it and I'm very proud of how I held myself physically, emotional and mentally to get through."
Meares believes the events so far, which also saw her and team mate Kaarle McCulloch go up against Pendleton and Jessica Varnish in the team sprint final won by the home team, have provided invaluable experience ahead of the Olympic Games.
"In the pits you're hearing the 'gong, gong, gong' of Big Ben over the speakers and it sounds a little like The Undertaker coming from the WWE," said Meares applying a wrestling rather than boxing comparison to the contest. "But that's what I wanted, that's what I needed to experience if I'm going to come back for the Olympic Games and be as prepared as I possibly can be. I couldn't have asked for anything better."
Pendleton, Meares and Guo were on the podium in Beijing and Meares says she's not surprised they are on track to be the riders to watch in London.
"This is a sport that is very responsive to age and to time. It's not something where you can click your fingers and have strength and speed and power and experience and ability to be able to apply it on the track, it takes time and if you stick around the sport long enough you're going to be able to see those improvements consistently roll throughout your career," she said. "Vicki, Guo and myself have been around a long while and we're always trying to raise that bar higher and push ourselves."
Some key contenders were missing tonight including Krupeckaite and Olga Panarina who have both performed well at earlier World Cup rounds this season.
McCulloch clocked the tenth fastest qualifying time of 11.318 and won through in her first round match up but was outgunned by an in form Lee in the quarter finals and ended the sprint competition in eighth place.
In the women's 3km individual pursuit competition Tasmanian Amy Cure, 19, who had qualified fourth best, was hungry for a medal and went after it with gusto in her race for bronze against Lithuanian Vilija Sereikaite. Cure started at a steady pace while her rival was quick out of the gate but Cure had matched her pace by the one kilometre mark. Sereikaite then clawed back the lead by the end of two kilometres before she faded as Cure came home strongly to complete the 12 laps in a time of 3.36.707 which was .430 up on the Lithuanian.
It was the second bronze medal for Cure who was a member of the team pursuit trio that finished third on Friday.
"That (teams pursuit) definitely gave me a lot of confidence for today and going in there after qualifying fourth this morning I just really wanted that bronze medal," said Cure. "So to come out here and win that bronze medal really means a lot to me."
Although still a teenager Cure has four junior world titles to her name and is the current world record holder in both the under 19 individual and team pursuit events and despite being five years younger than her opponent said she was confident she could match her pace.
"You look at the times from the qualifying and she's a very fast starter in the first kilometre but tends to drop it off in the last kilometre but I tend to be a slower starter but bring it home in the the second and third kilometres," she explained. "But I knew at the start and I wasn't stressing if I was down a little bit but more-so towards the end I needed to pick it up and give my best and finish it off strong."
Also in action today was another member of the team pursuit lineup being 20-year-old Annette Edmondson today turned her attention to the six race omnium event.
She placed fourth in the flying lap that opened the competition before placing eighth in the points race and fourth in the elimination. That has put her at the top of the rankings on 16 points, one ahead of American Sarah Hammer while three other contenders sit equal on 20 points apiece.
On Sunday the women will race in the individual pursuit and scratch races before the omnium concludes with each women contesting a 500 metre time trial. Edmondson is strong in all three of the remaining events coming in as the reigning Australian pursuit champion and in the wake of a junior career as a sprinter and 500 metre specialist.
Australia could only field one starter in the men's keirin so world champion Shane Perkins made way for Matthew Glaetzer, 19, to gain some valuable experience. The young South Australian was swamped in his opening heat but in the repechage rode strongly before being pipped on the line halting his progress through to the second round.
The final day of racing will see Perkins, 25, back on he track when he and Scott Sunderland, 23, line up for Australian in the men's sprint. Meares and McCulloch will race the women's keirin and the much anticipated team pursuit show down between Great Britain and Australia is also on the program.
Reigning world champions Jack Bobridge, Michael Hepburn and Rohan Dennis along with as 2011 junior world champion Alex Edmondson (Annette's younger brother) posted a time of 3.57.885 to qualify half a second quicker than Great Britain (Steven Burke, Edward Clancy, Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas) who rode 3.58.446 for the 4000 metres and were the only other team to go under the magic four minute barrier.
That gave the Australians a target to aim for as to guarantee a start in the gold medal ride and with Russia scheduled to ride after them, they had to better the British mark They started slower than the British but built momentum quickly to be the fastest team through the one kilometre mark. It was a lead they maintained to the end where they stopped the clock in
340 riders from 48 nations and 18 trade teams are contesting the four-day competition that is the official test event for the 2012 Olympic Games. It is the last round of the four round series that kicked off in Astana last November before heading to Colombia in December and China last month. After the World Cup Series the world's best cyclists will head to Melbourne to contest the 2012 UCI Track World Championships from 4 to 8 April. The Australian Cyclones for the world championships will be named on 14 March.
The team for the London UCI World Cup round and results summary is listed below:
  • Melissa Hoskins - scratch race
  • Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch - team sprint (new Australian record of 32.828)
  • Anna Meares - women's sprint (flying 200m Australian record in qualifying of 10.939)
  • Josie Tomic, Amy Cure & Annette Edmondson - team pursuit (new Australian record of 3:19.164)
  • Amy Cure - individual pursuit

You really are never too old - amazing story

Robert Marchand – best hour performance at 100 years old

At the age of 14 he entered his first cycling event under a false name because he was too young: yesterday he established the first-ever best hour performance…. in the category over 100 years!
And that pretty much sums up the personage of Robert Marchand. Full of energy and in possession of a huge motivation, when he has an idea in his head, nothing will stop him.
“But I’m not playing at being a champion,” assures this lightweight (1m51 for 51kg) but far from frail man whose world performance stands at 24.251km. “I just wanted to do something for my 100th birthday.”
Well why not?
Which is one of the reasons why, less than three months after his birthday, he made the trip from his studio in Mitry-Mory (near Paris) to the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, to attempt the world hour performance on the centre’s velodrome. The request to make the attempt came from Gérard Mistler, Président of the Ardéchoise Cyclo-Promotion – annual cyclo-sportif event that Robert Marchand never misses.
“I think he is a human example of the benefits of cycling,” enthuses Mistler. “The fact that this performance is achieved at the WCC, headquarters of the International Cycling Union, is truly symbolic.”
With Gérard Mistler taking care of the administrative side of this record attempt, the athlete himself was able to concentrate on his preparation, which included familiarising himself with the centre’s track during the four days directly preceding the official date. While his ability to cycle non-stop for an hour was never going to pose a problem, Robert Marchand had to dig deep into his personal cycling history to retrieve the sensations of riding on the track.
“I haven’t cycled on a track for 80 years. You have to get used to the fixed gear! I prefer cycling outside but that is impossible at the moment,” he complained as he watched the snow fall in bucketsful outside the WCC. “I don’t want to catch the flu. So I am short on training.”
His build-up at the WCC included a first initiation under the watchful eye and guidance of Magali Humbert, former World Juniors Champion in the sprint and multiple French Champion. The following days, he rode round the track accompanied by his “coach” Magali, increasing his time in the saddle as the day of his challenge approached.
“The track is small. You just turn round and round,” he commented after one of the training sessions. “I could keep going for another hour. I’ve been told not to raise my pulse too high so I’m not even tired.”
For all his physical exploits, this amazing pint-sized personality is obedient and follows medical advice. He has been told not to go raise his pulse over 110, and it is a rule he respects with reverence. Well, most of the time: “I did climb a steep hill not long ago and went up to 134 but it’s best to avoid that,” he admits with a mischievous chuckle. “But I would be very surprised if I had heart attack,” he offers spontaneously. His optimism would appear well-founded: his first ever cardiograph last week revealed that his heart was in excellent condition.
Optimism aside, he knows his limits and remains cautious. “For the last five years I have decided not to go for rides of more than 100km. There is no point going overboard. I want to keep cycling for some time yet.”
These words of wisdom come from a man who last competed in the Bordeaux – Paris race at nearly 90 years of age, completing the 600km in 36 hours! His name can be found in the results list of France’s mythic cyclo-sportif events and even has a mountain pass named after him.
Now to the question on everyone’s lips…. what is his secret? How is it possible to be in such frighteningly good physical, and mental, health at 100 years old?
“I’ve never abused anything. I don’t smoke, I never drank much. The only thing I did in excess was work. I retired at 89 years old!”
Retired? But of course, Robert Marchand was no professional cyclist. Besides his favourite sport, he has lived a myriad of experiences. He could talk for hours about the wars, his first job as a boy looking after cattle, his time as a gymnastics monitor with the Paris Fire Department, his eight years in Venezuela as a driver, his three years in Canada where he was a woodcutter…
“I have to try to resume everything or we’ll be here all night.” It would certainly be worth staying up all night to listen to this man who has a memory that would put anyone to shame and stories to keep any audience captivated. 
Then we get onto the subject of the other sports he was involved in when he was younger: boxing, gymnastics (French champion in the pyramid – he was the lightweight at the top), weightlifting (“I was good. I could have been a champion”).
“But basically, I am like everybody. I am lucky that I haven’t had any major health problems. My advice to anyone, young or old, is to keep moving. I do ‘physical culture’ every day. It works out my whole body and keeps me supple. Some people when they reach 80 years old, start playing cards and they stay immobile. Not me. I’ve never been able to keep still…” 

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Aussies rumble the boards in London

Hoskins hustles to gold as records tumble on London track

West Australia's Melissa Hoskins launched a successful solo attack late in the women's scratch race to claim the first gold medal awarded at the final round of the UCI Track World Cup Series on London's Olympic Velodrome while world records fell in both the team sprint and team pursuit events for women.
Hoskins, who lined up in the scratch race after being swapped out of the finals line up for the team pursuit, made the most of the opportunity to solo to gold half a lap ahead of the field.
"My personal strategy was to try and (get on the) podium because I haven't had an indvidual win at a world cup before," said Hoskins. "I wanted to produce something and that really paid off.
" I was bringing back a move (six laps to go) and when I turned around there was no-one there so I thought I'd give it a crack and thought 'if I get caught I get caught'," she explained. "Maybe half a lap to go (I knew I had won) but I wasn't confident at all because I know in the group were are a lot of girls who could challenge me.
"You just have to put your head down and go for it and don't hold back," Hoskins said. "It was a nice way to finish, by myself."
Earlier in the day three time world champion team sprint duo Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch set the first world record on the new Olympic track riding a time of 32.828 in qualifying to eclipse their own record of 32.923 set at the Copenhagen world titles in 2010. That put them through to a gold medal showdown with Jessica Varnish and Victoria Pendleton after the British pair clocked 32.966 in their heat.
"This is the best possible outcome we could hope for," said Meares after the qualifying session. "An Australian-British final is the closest thing to what will happen at the Olympic Games in terms of the atmosphere, so win or lose we will get a lot out of this."
The crowd for the afternoon session was loud but the night finals were raced in front of a packed stadium of predominantly British fans and they were there to make some noise.
Starting in the home straight Meares led out from the gate for the first lap to put the Australians ahead with 250m to go and McCulloch was also on pace. But Varnish was quicker than in qualifying and Pendleton delivered a sizzling final surge to reel in the deficit and stop the clock in a world record time of 13.962 shaving 74-thousandths of a second off the Australian's mark and claiming gold by a margin of almost two-tenths of a second.
"At the end of the day it's about Anna and I putting the best performance we can out on the track and we did that tonight," said McCulloch after the medal ceremony where the pair were presented with silver for the first time since 2009. "But you know what? This is only a stepping stone for us. We'll be better at the worlds and we'll be better in London, you can bet your bottom dollar on it."
"It's bitter sweet for us we didn't take the gold, we would have loved to have won," said Meares. "They've got the world record and that's very impressive but I expect they will improve and we will all improve so it's shaping up to be an interesting Olympics.
"We had the best possible situation of racing the British in the final in front of an extremely loud and vocal British crowd and that experience, you can't pay for that, you can't simulate that, you can't get that anywhere else, and I think that we are going to be a great deal better off for having experienced that tonight."
Meares, when asked about the impact of the 'wall of noise' generated by the parochial British fans, quipped with a grin, "I thought they were cheering for us, they are loud in any helmet."
Next on the schedule were the Australian women's pursuit team of Josie Tomic, Annette Edmondson and Amy Cure who gave the crowd another reason to cheer when they bettered the USA held world record of 3:19.569 on their way to claiming the bronze medal with a time of 3:19.164 in their 3000m match up against the Dutch.
But their status as world record holders was shortlived as Britain's Laura Trott, Danielle King and Joanna Rowsell powered to victory over Canada in 3:18.148 to win the gold medal in a time a second faster than the Austraians had ridden. The Canadians too bettered the Australian mark with a time of 3.18.982 to claim the silver medal.
"Now that Great Britain have set another benchmark we have to raise ours again," said Josie Tomic, 22, who has been a part of the women's pursuit program since moving into the elite ranks in 2008 in the wake of triple gold at the 2007 junior world championships.
20-year-old Edmondson had a junior career as a sprinter before switching to endurance events and earning national selection while Amy Cure, 19, stepped up to replace Hoskins for the final ride and, whilst the youngster of the team, she is well credentialled. Cure has four junior world titles to her name and is the current world record holder in both the under 19 individual and team pursuits.
Australia's team sprint men were also in action with Shane Perkins, 25, Scott Sunderland, 23, and teenager Matthew Glaetzer, 19, qualifying third fastest in a time of 43.869 for the three laps to move into the bronze medal final against Great Britain's Ross Edgar, Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy who were a shade slower in 43.876.
Glaetzer's final lap of 13.107 in qualifying was the fastest of the event and he was close to that again in the medal race where the Australians were just a little slower in 43.954 and the Brits a tenth of a second quicker to claim the bronze medal in a time of 43.781.
In the gold medal decider reigning world champions, Germany (Rene Enders, Robrt Forstemann and Maximillian Levy) were fastest at every marker to secure victory in a time of 43.562 ahead of the French trio of Gregory Bauge, Mickael D'almeida and Kevin Sireau who clocked 43.631 for the silver medal.
Australian elite road time trial champion and 2011 team pursuit world champion, Luke Durbridge, lined up in the 30 km (120 lap) points race but struggled with the change of pace having not contested a bunch track race for more than a year. He placed 13th with the win going to Spain's Albert Torres Barcelo who lapped the field twice to finish with a 16 point winning margin through a tally of 58 points.
Saturday's racing will see Meares and McCulloch back in action with the women's sprint being contested from qualifying through to medal rounds. Matthew Glaetzer will be the sole Australian starter in the men's keirin competition while Amy Cure will line up in the women's 3km individual pursuit. Annette Edmondson will take on the six round women's omnium which begins tomorrow with a flying lap, points race, and elimnation race and concludes on Sunday with the individual pursuit, scratch race and 500 metre time trial.
340 riders from 48 nations and 18 trade teams are contesting the four-day competition that is the official test event for the 2012 Olympic Games. It is the last round of the four round series that kicked off in Astana last November before heading to Colombia in December and China last month. After the World Cup Series the world's best cyclists will head to Melbourne to contest the 2012 UCI Track World Championships from 4 to 8 April. The Australian Cyclones for the world championships will be named on 14 March.
The team for the London UCI World Cup round and results summary is listed below:
  • Melissa Hoskins - scratch race
  • Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch - team sprint (new Australian record of 32.828)
  • Josie Tomic, Amy Cure & Annette Edmondson - team pursuit (new Australian record of 3:19.164)

Cyclones Australian Team

Classic Wurzels

Friday, 17 February 2012

Aussies for London track World Cup

Australia's team pursuit men set the fastest qualifying time and the women an Australian record to give the Cyclones a solid start to the final round of the UCI Track World Cup Series being staged at London's Olympic Velodrome.
The quartet for the men's event included reigning world champions Jack Bobridge, Michael Hepburn and Rohan Dennis as well as 2011 junior world champion Alex Edmondson. Australia was the second last team of 18 to post a time and, of the teams ahead of them, only Great Britain (Steven Burke, Edward Clancy, Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas) had ridden under the magic four minute barrier. The venue was close to capacity and a wall of sound erupted to spur on the British team who clocked an impressive 3.58.446 for the 4000 metres.
That gave the Australians a target to aim for as to guarantee a start in the gold medal ride and with Russia scheduled to ride after them, they had to better the British mark They started slower than the British but built momentum quickly to be the fastest team through the one kilometre mark. It was a lead they maintained to the end where they stopped the clock in 3.57.885, half a second quicker than Great Britain.
"That felt really smooth," said Bobridge after the ride which was scheduled just after 9.30pm. "It was good to get a hit out on the track (and) it is a bit different tonight with the qualifying so late at night. Normally you can get that blow out early in the morning and the cobwebs are normally flushed out.
"We can't complain with that ride. It was smooth, fast and in control the whole time."
The Australia versus Great Britain showdown is scheduled for Sunday and Bobridge predicts it will be a fast one.
"Come the final we will be on the track to win and it will be interesting to see what (time) we can do," he said. "It is only a new track for it to be that fast already is a good sign for things to come. Give the boards another six months and a bit more racing on it then come the Games there will be some very quick times for sure."
While the men's was a smooth qualifying round the women's trio of Melissa Hoskins, Annette Edmondson and Josie Tomic had to contend with a technical hitch that forced them to restart. On their first attempt the starting gate failed to release lead out rider Hoskins and she could do nothing but watch as her team mates rolled from the line without her.
The team returned to the warm up area to await a restart. After ten minutes of testing the gate officials called them back to the line.
"I didn't go very far, the gate didn't open," said Hoskins. "As if you are not nervous enough then a start like that but we recomposed ourselves. It actually happened to us at nationals (as well). We recomposed, got out there and rode a solid time to qualify."
"I don't think it affected us," said Tomic. "It is really promising heading into worlds. We have been out of the medals in the last year or so (and) there has been a lot going on behind the scenes and I think tonight showed we have plenty to come."
In fact the team's qualifying time for the 3000 metres of 3.21.426 shaved one thousandth of a second off the previous Australian record set by West Australia's state line up of Tomic, Hoskins and Isabella King at the 2011 track nationals at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome.
"We wanted to go a little bit faster but we are on our way," said Edmondson. "We know our time is up there going into the world championships in April."
Great Britain (Laura Trott, Wendy Houvenaghel and Joanna Rowsell) rode after the Australians and whilst they started quickly they faded to finish in 3.21.370, scraping in ahead of the Australians by only .056. But no one could match the time of 3:20.785 set by Canadians Tara Whitten, Gillian Carleton and Jasmin Glaesser.
In Friday's bronze medal final the Australians, with Amy Cure coming in to replace Melissa Hoskins, will race against the Netherlands who clocked 3.22.776 to be fourth fastest. Great Britain and Canada will contest the gold medal race.
Also in action on Friday for the Cyclones will be Luke Durbridge in the points race and Melissa Hoskins in the women's scratch race. Team sprint action is also on the program with reigning world champions and record holders Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch in the seventh of the ten heats (raced two teams at a time). The Australian men's team sprint trio will ride in the fifth of nine qualifying heats.
340 riders from 48 nations and 18 trade teams are contesting the four-day competition that is the official test event for the 2012 Olympic Games. It is the last round of the four round series that kicked off in Astana last November before heading to Colombia in December and China last month. After the World Cup Series the world's best cyclists will head to Melbourne to contest the 2012 UCI Track World Championships from 4 to 8 April. The Australian Cyclones for the world championships will be named on 14 March.
The team for the London UCI World Cup round is listed below:
Cyclones Australian Team

French Cyclo Cross Champs, 1929

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Wacker the winner, Asian TT Champs

It was another fruitless day for Malaysia in the Asian Cycling Championships in the men’s elite and Under-23 road racing individual time trial events yesterday.
Even before the start, both riders stood no chance of getting on the podium as they were ill-prepared.
It was, therefore, not surprising to see Mohd Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi finishing ninth in the elite race while Nik Mohd Azwan Zulkiflie was placed seventh in the Under-23 category.
Fauzan, who was featuring in his first road event for Malaysia after serving a two-year suspension for doping which ended in February last year, clocked 51:33.519 in the 38.4km race.
Eugen Wacker of Kyrgyzstan (47:41.487) retained his title with Dmitriy Gruzdev of Kazakhstan (48:47.724) second and Hossein Askari of Iran (49:46.918) in third place. All three finished in the same order in last year’s championships.
“I came here as the defending champion and I was determined to get the gold,” said Wacker, who was the only Kyrgyzstan rider to feature in the championships this year.
“It is winter back in Kyrgyzstan but it is very hot here. It was very tough as Dmitriy and Hossein are very good riders and the hot weather here made it even more difficult,” said Wacker.
As for Fauzan, he was happy with his performance after getting into a top-10 finish.
“My target was to be in the top-five but I was not focusing my training on the time trial event as I will be featuring for the national team in the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) next week,” said Fauzan.
Even before the meet, national coach Syed Mohd Hussaini Syed Mazlan had warned Fauzan not to go all out in the Asian meet but to concentrate on the LTdL, which, ironically starts with a 20.3km time trial in Putrajaya on Feb 24.
Azwan, who was making his debut in the Asian Championships, also did not have the best preparation as he only started training for the 38.4km race just a month ago.
“It was definitely not enough to bag a medal here. But considering my training time, I think the result is decent enough,” said the 22-year-old Azwan who stopped the clock at 53:53.469.
Azwan, who started as the seventh rider off the ramp, was overtaken by silver medallist Genki Yamamoto of Japan who was the ninth rider to start.
Arvin Moazemi of Iran claimed the gold in 50:13.190 while Yamamoto clocked 50:43.979. Ho Burr of Hong Kong settled for the bronze in 51:23.974.
Men’s elite (38.4km): 1. Eugen Wacker (Kgz) 47:41.487, 2. Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) 48:47.724, 3. Hossein Askari (Iri) 49:46.918.
Men’s Under-23 (38.4km): 1. Arvin Moazemi (Iri) 50:13.190, 2. GenkiYamamoto (Jpn) 50:43.979, 3. Ho Burr (Hkg) 51:23.974.

Thanks MNCF