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Bauge defends sprint crown

Frenchman Gregory Bauge defends his sprint crown at track worlds.

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Frenchman Gregory Bauge defended his sprint crown in imperious fashion on Sunday after a two-leg victory over Australia’s Shane Perkins at the world track cycling championships.

Perkins, making his first worlds final, won the silver while France’s Kevin Sireau took the bronze after dominating German Robert Forstemann in their ride-off.

Gregory Bauge celebrates his gold in the sprint.

Bauge, who won the title last year in the absence of Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy, clocked the fastest time in the 200-meter flying start qualifiers on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Guadeloupean then went on to eliminate Hoy in the quarter-finals and proved unbeatable again on Sunday as he scored a 2-1 victory over Sireau to make his second successive final.

Bauge said he felt under par before coming to defend his title in the sport’s blue-ribbon event. But once on the boards, the Frenchman showed that he didn’t just win the title last year because Hoy was absent.

“The biggest point of the year is the world championships, and I came to defend my title,” said Bauge. “In the 200 meters, in qualifying, I was really up for it and then I had two really hard matches, against Hoy in the quarters and Kevin (Sireau) in the semi-final – and it was very tense on both occasions.

“That just goes to show that we (Bauge, Sireau, Hoy) are the best in the world in the sprint.”

Bauge took delight in the fact he won this year’s crown when the cream of the crop — meaning Hoy — was all in attendance.

“All the big names were competing this year, and I’ve defended my crown,” he added.

Perkins, 23, took another step in his steady maturing process, having placed fourth in the tournament last year, but his comparative inexperience told as Bauge ran out a convincing winner over the two legs.

Perkins had no complaints.

“I came here for experience and today I left everything out there on the boards,” he told AFP. “Last year was my breakthrough year when I finished fourth and I’ve taken another step this time round.

“Before I came here I told my little boy (Aidan) I was going to bring him back a present, and that I wouldn’t be buying it from a shop. I’m happy with the silver medal. It’s not far away. We came here to implement certain things and I think we succeeded in that.

“In the final race, I just didn’t have the legs in the home straight.”

Sireau beat Perkins to the bronze last year, and after making tactical mistakes in at least one of his races he was left frustrated at playing second fiddle to Bauge again.

“I worked hard to make sure I got to the final. Maybe I’m still a little bit short on experience, and need to learn more self-control,” he said.

“Maybe I also need to want it more. Time-wise, we’re at about the same level. Greg wasn’t unbeatable, as you saw in the first race. Hopefully I will catch him out soon.”