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Britain’s Chris Hoy claimed his second world kilometer title on Thursday, trumping French great Arnaud Tournant in the final at the world track cycling championships in Melbourne, Australia.
The Flying Scotsman hurtled around the four laps of the Vodafone Arena, clocking 1:01.599, to once again get the better of four-time kilo world champion Tournant, who was timed at 1:01.957. Dutchman Theo Bos took the bronze medal ahead of defending world champion Stefan Nimke of Germany and Australians Ben Kersten and Shane Kelly.
Hoy beat Tournant by one-thousandth of a second for his first world crown in Copenhagen in 2002, the same year he defeated reigning Olympic champion and teammate Jason Queally to win the gold medal at the Manchester Commonwealth Games.
The Scot was fastest over the first 250 meters in 18.330 and had the quickest time of 46.405 at 750 meters.
“I was confident, particularly after the ride in Sydney (World Cup),” Hoy said. “I knew this was a quicker track (than Sydney), but still I knew it would be a tough race.”
Hoy said he was now looking forward to the Athens Olympic Games in August.
“My emphasis and focus is on Athens,” he said. “The key to our success has been getting here early, and it’s going to be very warm in Greece, but I hope to break a time of 1:01,” he said.
Tournant, who strung together his four world crowns during 1998-2001 and has won 11 world titles overall, rode straight after Hoy’s effort but came up 0.158 second short despite finishing powerfully over the final two laps.
France continued its rousing world championships with Clara Sanchez winning her country’s third gold medal of the meet in the women’s keirin.
Sanchez defeated Italy’s Elisa Frisoni and American Jennie Reed to claim the first gold medal decided in the women’s competition here.
“When I saw the Italian girl on my back wheel I accelerated, and on the last lap I told myself that was the moment to give all the energy I had,” said Sanchez. “I’m very happy to get the title of world champion for the keirin, but unfortunately it doesn’t allow me to go to the Athens Olympics, that’s why I will have to do my best tomorrow (in the sprint).” The women’s keirin is not an Olympic event.
As for Reed, she said: “I’m pretty happy with a bronze medal. Tactically, the keirin is such an unpredictable race and I gave it everything I had so I’m quite happy.”
In the men’s 4000-meter individual pursuit, Sergio Escobar Roure claimed Spain’s first gold medal, clocking 4:19.382 to win an exciting duel with Britain’s Robert Hayles, the lead changing back and forth throughout the 16 laps.
In the end, Escobar Roure pulled away to win by 1.045 seconds as Hayles tired over the final laps. Olympic champion Robert Bartko of Germany came back to overhaul Australian Luke Roberts in the ride-off for the bronze.
“I am very happy and content to have won,” said Escobar Roure, who took the individual pursuit at this month’s Sydney round of the World Cup. “It was more of a test for me ahead of the Athens Olympics.”
Earlier Thursday, New Zealander Sarah Ulmer smashed the world record in qualifying for the women’s 3000m individual pursuit.
Ulmer powered to a new world record of 3:30.604, obliterating Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel’s old record of 3:30.816, set at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, by 0.212 seconds, and finishing some four and a half seconds faster than the Dutch three-time world and Olympic champion in their 12-lap heat.
The final of the event is scheduled for Friday.