By VeloNews Interactive, and wire services
World sprint champion Theo Bos led a Dutch hat-trick of victories on the opening night of the fourth and final UCI World Cup track event at Dunc Gray Velodrome on Friday in Sydney.
Bos claimed the keirin title while Levi Heimans won the men’s 4km individual pursuit and Wim Stroetinga took out the men’s 15km scratch race.
Bos beat eight-time world champion Laurent Gane of France in the ride-off for first and second place with Czech Republic’s Pavel Buran beating Australian Joel Leonard for third.
“We’ve trained very hard here and done a lot of kilometers on the road,” said Bos, who will contest the sprint and the kilometer time trial at the world championships next month in Los Angeles. “The keirin and kilometeer are on the same day so I’ll stick to the kilo,” he said. “The keirin can sometimes be a lottery.”
Stroetinga overtook Denmark’s Alex Rasmussen in the closing lap to win the scratch race, although Rasmussen’s second-place finish gave him the World Cup championship. New Zealand’s Gregory Henderson, the world champion in the event in Melbourne last year, was third.
Australian trio Ben Kersten, Rochelle Gilmore and Olympic champion Anna Meares also had opening-night victories.
Kersten completed a personal best time of 1:1.645 to win the kilometer time trial and claim the World Cup series crown after two top-three placings.
“It was great riding here tonight with family and friends – it’s just such a special feeling,” said Kersten, who placed third in the Los Angeles World Cup in December and second in last month’s Manchester round, where he cracked the 62-second mark for the first time.
“I did that personal best in January and I thought, ‘What the hell’s going on?’ I trained a whole year (in 2004) and didn’t do that once and now I’ve done it twice,” said Kersten, who has his eyes on the podium at the world championships. Asked how much faster he can go the Sydney rider replied: “Who knows? Heaps, I hope.”
Meares sailed through the women’s sprint final 2-0 against China’s Shuang Guo, while Dutch rider Yvonne Hijgenaar overpowered Canada’s Olympic champion, Lori-Ann Muenzer, in the deciding third race for the bronze.
“Guo has an awful lot of talent and I think we will see a lot more of her in the future,” said Meares. “It’s good to see them come down to competitions here in Australia, and it’s good to have some new blood in the mix as well.”
Meares said last week’s Australian Championships, where she claimed three individual and one team gold, had affected her somewhat coming into the World Cup finale.
“I fell a little flat after the week at the nationals, but considering the form of some of the girls here I’m very, very happy with where I am at the moment,” said Meares. “I need a bit of speed work leading up to world’s and I’m looking forward to it.”
Gilmore claimed victory in the women’s 20km points race final from Italy’s Giorgia Bronzini and China’s Wu Yunmei.
Sydney’s Rochelle Gilmore, 23, was clearly the dominant rider in the women’s 20km points race. Of the eight sprints contested she won four, placed second in one and was fourth in another to finish with 24 points, double that of silver medalist Giorgia Bronzoni, 21, of Italy on 12 points with China’s Yunmei Wu, 20, third on 10 points.
“I thought it would be a lot harder, it would be a lot more attacking, there were a lot of names I didn’t know, so I didn’t know which ones to chase,” explained Gilmore. “This whole series has been about getting a ride at the world’s and having a good ride and proving to Ian McKenzie (national endurance coach) that I could have a good ride when I’m in good form.”
Saturday brings the finals in the men’s team pursuit, women’s 500-meter time trial, women’s individual pursuit, men’s points race and men’s sprint.
Racing concludes Sunday with the women’s scratch race, men’s Madison, women’s keirin and men’s team sprint. –Agence France Presse contributed to this report.
World Cup results
1. Wim Stroetinga (Ned)
2. Alex Rasmussen (Den)
3. Gregory Henderson (NZ)
1km time trial
1. Ben Kersten (Aus)
2. Tim Veldt (Ned)
3. Francois Pervis (F)
1. Levi Heimans (Ned)
2. Edward Clancy (GB)
3. Ivan Kovalev (Rus)
1. Theo Bos (Ned)
2. Laurent Gane (F)
3. Pavel Buran (Cze)
1. Rochelle Gilmore (Aus)
2. Giorgia Bronzini (I)
3. Wu Yunmei (Chn)
1. Anna Meares (Aus)
2. Guo Shuang (Chn)
3. Yvonne Hijgenaar (Ned)