By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor
It’s called the World Class Performance Program, and it’s a name that was well deserved after the first day of racing at the opening track World Cup of the 2002 season in Monterrey, Mexico on Friday. Great Britain’s Paul Manning and Emma Davies each earned gold medals in the individual pursuit, proving at least for a day that the WCPP — the UK’s competitive cycling program — is in fact world class.
After placing second in the qualifying round, Manning outgunned Spain’s Sergi Escobar (Spain) 4:31.629 to 4:32.269 to win the first World Cup of his career. Switzerland’s Franco Marvulli earned the bronze, while Mike Tillman was the top American finisher in sixth.
“The is just a testament to what our country is doing for cycling,” Manning confirmed. “We’re well looked after and it’s paying off.”
In the women’s individual pursuit, Davies spoiled the day of American Erin Mirabella, who’d been the top qualifier in the morning session. In the final Davies cruised to an easy head-up win against the Californian, covering the 3km distance in 3:46:346. Mirabella straggled across in 3:53.424.
“I was really tired after the morning,” Mirabella admitted. “I’m actually pretty happy to end up with silver.”
The other big American hope coming into the day was the 3-man Olympic sprint team of Brian Lopes, Jeff LaBauve and Giddeon Massie. But they failed to move past the qualifying round, ending up eighth overall, far behind eventual winner France, which is the reigning world champion team and was lead by strongman Arnaud Tournant. Tournant is also the current rainbow-stripes holder in the kilo.
The race was the competitive track debut for Lopes, but the poor result didn’t discourage the 2001 world dual champion.
“I got out of the gate a little late,” said Lopes, who rode the lead spot in the opening lap of the 3-lap race. “It’s actually good, though. It makes me angry to go down like this and that makes me want to come back.”
Germany and Poland rounded out the Olympic sprint podium.
In the keirin fellow Spanish speakers José Escuredo (Spain) and Yumari Gonzalez (Cuba) took gold. Escuredo held off the late charge of Italy’s Domenico Mei and Josiah Ng (Malaysia). The bronze medal was a big breakthrough for the 22-year-old Ng, who’s lived in the U.S. since he was eight. It’s his first-ever World Cup podium result.
“I came here looking for a result like this,” he said. “But to have it happen is awesome.”
It was also a surprising performance for Cuba’s Gonzalez, who came as part of a 2-rider delegation, then dedicated her win to Fidel Castro and her country’s people.
Far back of Gonzalez were American’s Jennie Reed and Tanya Lindenmuth. Both failed to move past the keirin semifinal, and had to settle for seventh and ninth respectively.
“I tried to stay out front for too long,” said Lindenmuth of her eventual last-place ride in the semis. “I ended up going backwards past everybody on the last straightaway.”
Germany’s Katrin Meinke and Russia’s Svetlana Grankovskaia were second and third in the women’s keirin. Canada’s Lori Ann Muenzer took fifth.
In the men’s 30km points race, it was an all South American podium, led by Uruguay’s Milton Wynanys. Colombian Leonardo Duque was second, with Argentinean Juan Curuchet fourth. American Jame Carney, the defending overall World Cup champion in the discipline, settled for sixth. Canada’s Glen Rendall was 16th.
Racing continues in Mexico Saturday with the finals of the men’s team pursuit and 15km scratch race. The women will contest the 10km scratch race and the 500-meter time trial.
— Former world BMX champion Jamie Staff (Great Britain) had a solid debut in big-time track racing, winning the consolation round of the keirin to take seventh place overall. Staff, who’s a newcomer to fixed-gear racing, says the Olympics in 2004 are definitely something he’s interested in pursuing. Staff and his English mates didn’t fare so well in the Olympic sprint, though, ending up 10th overall.
— Canada’s Erin Carter was sixth in the individual pursuit, while countryman Steen Madsen took 10th in the keirin.
— Crowds at the Nuevo León Velodromo weren’t huge, but those who did show up took every chance to root on the home team, chanting “Meh-he-co, Meh-he-co” every time one of the host country’s riders was on the track.
Check back to VeloNews.com later for a full report, results and photos from Saturday’s racing.
UCI TRACK WORLD CUP NO. 1; Monterrey, Mexico; April 19-21; Men; Olympic sprint; 1. France (Franck Durivaux, Arnaud Duble, Arnaud Tournant), 1:02.132 (57.941 kph); 2. Germany, 1:02.752; 3. Poland, 1:03.181; 4. Netherlands, 1:03.432; 5. Spain, 1:03.785; Also; 8. United States (Brian Lopes, Jeff LaBauve, Giddeon Massie), 1:04.358; 13. Mexico (Mario Sanchez, Abraham Soriano, Javier Caballero), 1:06.275; Keirin; 1. José Escuredo, Spain, 10.912; 2. Domenico Mei, Italy; 3. Josiah Ng, Malaysia; 4. Matthias John, Germany; 5. Arnaud Buble, France; Also; 7. Jamie Staff, Great Britain; 10. Steen Madsen, Canada; 12. Mario Contreras, Mexico; Individual pursuit; 1. Paul Manning, Great Britain, 4:31.629; 2. Sergi Escobar, Spain; 3. Franco Marvulli, Switzerland; 4. Damien Pommereau, France; 5. Viktar Rapinski, Belarus; Also; 6. Mike Tillman, USA; 30km points race; 1. Milton Wynanys, Uruguay, 65 points; 2. Leonardo Duque, Colombia, 51; 3. Juan Curuchet, Argentina, 44; 4. Franck Perque, France, 42; 5. Wilco Zuijderwijh, Netherlands, 42; Also6. Jame Carney, USA, 40; 14. Jose Sanchez, Mexico, 0; 16. Glen Rendall, Canada, -34
Women; Individual pursuit; 1. Emma Davies, Great Britain, 3:46.346; 2. Erin Mirabella, USA; 3. Anouska Van Der Zee, Netherlands; 4. Christine Becker, Germany; 5. Luisa Calle, Colombia; Also; 6. Erin Carter, Canada; 10. Patricia Palencia, Mexico; Keirin; 1. Yumari Gonzalex, Cuba, 12.530; 2. Katrin Meinke, Germany; 3. Svetlana Grankovskaia, Russia; 4. Jianling Wang, China; 5. Lori Ann Muenzer, Canada; Also; 7. Jennie Reed, USA; 9. Tanya Lindenmuth, USA