Hammer defends pursuit crown

Sarah Hammer put down a dominating performance Friday in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, defending her world title in the women’s individual pursuit Friday and putting the world on notice that she’s the rider to beat going into next year’s Olympic Summer Games. Hammer becomes the first American to defend a world track title since Rebecca Twigg in 1984-85. She also set a new U.S record and personal best with 3:30.213. “I wanted that so bad. To do it twice is amazing,” Hammer told VeloNews at the finish. “I thought going in I was going to win. I was confident in myself.” Hammer was fastest in

Britain adds to gold-medal haul with keirin, team-pursuit triumphs

By Andrew Hood

Wiggins leads the British pursuit squad as it charges to a sub-4:00 qualifier.

Wiggins leads the British pursuit squad as it charges to a sub-4:00 qualifier.

Photo: Agence France Presse – 2007

Sarah Hammer put down a dominating performance Friday in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, defending her world title in the women’s individual pursuit Friday and putting the world on notice that she’s the rider to beat going into next year’s Olympic Summer Games.

Hammer becomes the first American to defend a world track title since Rebecca Twigg in 1984-85. She also set a new U.S record and personal best with 3:30.213.

“I wanted that so bad. To do it twice is amazing,” Hammer told VeloNews at the finish. “I thought going in I was going to win. I was confident in myself.”

Hammer was fastest in qualifying and squared off against relative newcomer Rebecca Romero of Great Britain, an Olympic silver medalist in rowing who switched to the track just 10 months ago.

Hammer made quick work of her strong, but inexperienced rival, opening up a 0.60-second gap in the first 250m of the 12-lap race. She widened the lead to 1.14 seconds at 1500m and won by more than three seconds.

Celebrating on the podium

Celebrating on the podium

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

“I didn’t want to go another 365 days without the rainbow,” Hammer said. “She wasn’t that unknown. I follow everybody. I respect all my competitors. I never doubt what they can do. I thought Katie [Mactier] would be more of a factor. I knew [Romero] was on the radar. She just turned herself into one of the favorites.”

Australian Katie Mactier, the world champion in 2005, dominated Britain’s Wendy Houvenaghel to earn her second consecutive world’s bronze medal.

Hammer, 23, burst onto the international scene last year after returning to the track following a hiatus from the sport that included stints selling cell phones and working in a bagel shop. Last year in Bordeaux, she was something of a surprise winner in earning the first U.S. women’s world’s gold medal in a decade.

The national anthem plays

The national anthem plays

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

With Beijing little more than a year away, the California product was determined Friday to strike a psychological blow to opponents she’ll be squaring off against in the Olympics.

“It was a different kind of pressure [from last year]. This year was more, ‘See, I told you so, that wasn’t a fluke,’” she said. “I’m the real deal. I’m here to stay.”

Her rivals are definitely taking notice of Hammer’s growing dominance. Mactier came in as one of the big favorites to challenge for the gold medal, but couldn’t get into the gold-medal round during qualifying.

“She’s certainly has proven herself. To be defending world champion is always a big call and she’s handled herself well,” said Mactier. “I think a year out before the Olympics it’s a really big telling tale on who’s going to be big favorites for the Games. Sarah’s proven she’s right there.”

The back-to-back gold medals pump new life into the once-moribund U.S. track program. Just two years ago, when the U.S. hosted the world championships in Los Angeles, the host country didn’t earn a single medal.

“One rider can lift a program. Others see that success, they’re around her and it rubs off,” said Pat McDonough, athletics director at USA Cycling. “Now we have frickin’ [Brad] Huff winning a medal. These are good times and it’s only getting better.”

The podium

The podium

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Up next for Hammer will be Sunday’s points race, when she will try for a second gold on the weekend. An extra’s day rest before the competition will help. Last year, the points race was held the day after her emotional pursuit victory and she wasn’t able to regain her focus in time.

On Sunday, Hammer would be happy with any medal, regardless of the color. In 2008, the goals will have a much more specific tinge.

“The goal this weekend is two medals,” said Hammer’s coach, Andy Sparks. “The goal for Beijing is two gold medals.”

Men’s team pursuit: Rule Britannia
Great Britain powered to a dramatic victory over Ukraine to win the prestigious men’s pursuit title for the second time in three years.

Powered by individual pursuit gold medalist Bradley Wiggins, the four-man team outgunned the surprising Ukraine team to win in three minutes, 57.468 seconds, and set a new British record. Denmark claimed the bronze ahead of New Zealand in the 16-lap race.

Joining Wiggins in the flawless British performance were Edward Clancy, Geraint Thomas and Paul Manning. The British team opened up a gap and never let go.

“We just went flat out from the start and tried to control it, but it was bloody hurting,” Wiggins told AFP. “Success breeds success, and we’re setting the benchmark for others to look up to in the years to come. We’re winning right across the board, and it’s great to see. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve seen it coming the past 10 years.”

The Australian team, which came into Palma de Mallorca as defending world and reigning Olympic champions, failed to qualify for the medal rounds for the first time since 2001 after finishing a disappointing sixth.

Men’s keirin: Hoy KO’s Bos
Chris Hoy continued Great Britain’s gold-medal harvest by taking down defending world champion Theo Bos of the Netherlands to win the men’s keirin.

Hoy takes the keirin

Hoy takes the keirin

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

“I came into the sprint without any pressure, and while I thought a medal might be possible, I never expected to win gold,” Hoy said. “I’m hoping to win the kilometer on Sunday. I’m over the moon.”

Defending world champion Bos was the heavy favorite, but struggled in the early rounds and had to qualify in the repechage.

“It was an unusual day,” Bos said. “I sprinted but it was too late and Hoy was too strong.”

Men’s scratch: Hong Kong gold
Kam-Po Wong attacked with about eight laps to go in the men’s scratch race — just before a massive crash took out nearly a dozen riders — to surprise the favorites and score the first-ever track world championship title for Hong Kong.

Omnium bronze medalist Brad Huff tried to counter-attack after eight riders were brought down with about five laps to go in the 60-lap, 15km scratch race and finished 13th.

“It’s a big surprise for me because it’s very hard for Hong Kong to win gold medals,” said Wong, who came off winning a stage and finishing fourth at the Tour of Taiwan.

At least two riders were transported to the hospital after the nasty crash, which took out riders in the middle of the pack just as Wong was powering away. Riders screamed in pain as the unsanded boards left them with scrapes, cuts and nasty splinters.

Wong powered away alone to snag his historic medal.

“My coach told me to try to attack with about 10 to 15 laps to go. I think I surprised them and I could feel myself starting to slow down. I am so happy.”

Wong’s win should play nicely in China, which will be hosting the 2008 Olympic Summer Games. And Wong said his victory could propel efforts to build a velodrome in Hong Kong.

“The government promised to build a track by 2012,” he said. “Now maybe they will go faster.”

Women’s sprint: Reed out
Jennie Reed, the lone American sprinter on this year’s squad, failed to advance out of the 1/16 finals. Her time of 11.617 seconds in the 200-meter qualifying round was the 15th-fastest and set up a head-to-head match against 10th-seeded Anna Blyth of Great Britain.

In the ensuing race, Blyth dispatched Reed in the single-elimination format, leaving the American with an overall finish of 15th place. Reed will next compete in the keirin on Sunday, an event in which she captured a bronze medal at the 2004 world’s. —By USA Cycling

Tesults: Day 2
Team pursuit

Britain (Edward Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Paul Manning, Bradley Wiggins) 3:57.468 bt Ukraine (Lyubomyr Polatayko, Maksym Polischyuk, Vitaliy Popkov, Vitaliy Shchedov)

Bronze medal
Denmark (Casper Jorgensen, Jens-Erik Madsen, Michael Morkov, Alex Rasmussen) 4:04.093 bt New Zealand (Sam Bewley, Westley Gough, Peter Latham, Marc Ryan)

1. Britain (Edward Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Paul Manning, Bradley Wiggins) 3:59.579
2. Ukraine 4:05.039
3. Denmark 4:05.307
4. New Zealand 4:06.611
5. Germany 4:07.221
6. Australia 4:07.447
7. Netherlands 4:07.775
8. Russia 4:08.308
9. Spain 4:10.098
10. Belgium 4:11.357
11. France 4:13.021
12. Italy 4:19.480


1. Chris Hoy (GB)
2. Theo Bos (Ned)
3. Ross Edgar (GB)
4. Mickael Bourgoin (F)
5. Teun Mulder (Ned)
6. Shane Perkins (Aus)
7. Tim Veldt (Ned)
8. Kevin Sireau (F)
9. Ryan Bayley (Aus)
10. Toshiaki Fushimi (Jpn)
11. 11. Jose Antonio Escuredo (Sp)

First round
Heat 1

Kevin Sireau (F) bt Ryan Bayley (Aus), Theo Bos (Ned), Lukasz Kwiatkowski (Pol), Hernan Botasso (Arg)
DQ: Roberto Chiappa (I), DNF: Josiah Ng (MSA)

Heat 2
Jose Antonio Escuredo (Sp) bt Shane Perkins (Aus), Kazuya Narita (Jpn), Ross Edgar (GB), Andriy Vynokurov (Ukr), Maximilian Levy (G), Tim Veldt (Ned)

Heat 3
Mickael Bourgoin (F) bt Mark French (Aus), Rene Wolff (G), Denis Dmitriev (Rus), Adam Ptacnik (Pol), Ricardo Lynch (Jam), Hodei Mazquiaran (Sp)

Heat 4
Chris Hoy (GB) bt Teun Mulder (Ned), Travis Smith (Can), Christos Volikakis (Gre), Qi Tang (Chn), Mikhail Shikhalev (Rus), Toshiaki Fushimi (Jpn), Rizal Mohd Tisin (Mas)

First-round repechage
Heat 1

Theo Bos (Ned) bt Christos Volikakis (Gre), Adam Ptacnik (Pol), Rizal Mohd Tisin (Mas), Maximilian Levy (G)

Heat 2
Toshiaki Fushimi (Jpn) bt Kazuya Narita (Jpn), Roberto Chiappa (I), Denis Dmitriev (Rus), Andriy Vynokurov (Ukr)

Heat 3
Ross Edgar (GB) bt Hodei Mazquiaran (Sp), Hernan Botasso (Arg), Rene Wolff (G), Mikhail Shikhalev (Rus)

Heat 4
Tim Veldt (Ned) bt Ricardo Lynch (Jam), Lukasz Kwiatkowski (Pol)
DNF: Travis Smith (Can), Qi Tang (Chn)

>b>Second round (1st three each heat to final)
Heat 1
Chris Hoy (GB) bt Theo Bos (Ned), Shane Perkins (Aus), Tim Veldt (Ned), Kevin Sireau (F)
DQ: Mark French (Aus)

Heat 2
Ross Edgar (GB) bt Teun Mulder (Ned), Mickael Bourgoin (F), Ryan Bayley (Aus), Jose Antonio Escuredo (Sp), Toshiaki Fushimi (Jpn)

Scratch (7.5km)

1. Kam-Po Wong (Hkg)
2. Wim Stroetinga (Ned)
3. Rafal Ratajczyk (Pol)
4. Martin Blaha (Cze)
5. Ivan Kovalev (Rus)
6. Unai Elorriaga (Sp)
7. Steve Schets (B)
8. Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre)
9. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr)
10. Roland Garber (A)
11. Danilo Napolitano (I)
12. Mitchell Docker (Aus)
13. Charles Bradley Huff (USA)
14. Jonathan Bellis (GB)
15. Vladimir Tuychiev (Uzb)

DNF: Kazuhiro Mori (Jpn), Henning Bommel (G), Jerome Neuville (F), Jose Hernandez (Ven), Greg Henderson (NZL), Franco Marvulli (Swi), Dario Colla (Arg)

Heat 1 (1st 11 to final)

1. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr)
2. Kazuhiro Mori (Jpn)
3. Martin Blaha (Cze)
4. Jonathan Bellis (GB)
5. Danilo Napolitano (I)
6. Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre)
7. Henning Bommel (G)
8. Jerome Neuville (F)
9. Jose Hernandez (Ven)
10. Ivan Kovalev (Rus)
11. Mitchell Docker (Aus)
12. Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu)
13. Mahammad Alakbarov (Aze)
14. Michael Faerk Christensen (Den)

Heat 2 (1st 11 to final)
1. Kam-Po Wong (Hkg)
2. Charles Bradley Huff (USA)
3. Vladimir Tuychiev (Uzb)
4. Rafal Ratajczyk (Pol)
5. Greg Henderson (NZL)
6. Unai Elorriaga (Sp)
7. Wim Stroetinga (Ned)
8. Franco Marvulli (Swi)
9. Steve Schets (B)
10. Roland Garber (A)
11. Dario Colla (Arg)
12. Volodymyry Rybin (Ukr),
13. Juha-Matti Alaluusua (Fin)

1. Shuang Guo (Chn) 11.149
2. Simona Krupeckaite (Ltu) 11.191
3. Victoria Pendleton (GB) 11.194
4. Clara Sanchez (F) 11.270
5. Anna Meares (Aus) 11.278
6. Natallia Tsylinskaya (Blr) 11.346
7. Lisandra Rodriguez Guerra (Cub) 11.365
8. Willy Kanis (Ned) 11.408
9. Svetlana Grankovskaya (Rus) 11.444
10. Anna Blyth (GB) 11.497
11. Yvonne Hijgenaar (Ned) 11.503,
12. Daniela Larreal (Ven) 11.541
13. Jinjie Gong (Chn) 11.563
14. Christin Muche (G) 11.610
15. Jennie Reed (USA) 11.617
16. Lulu Zheng (Chn) 11.656
17. Dana Gloss (G) 11.667
18. Jane Gerisch (G) 11.679
19. Diana Garcia (Col) 11.682
20. Miriam Welte (G) 11.743
21. Oksana Grishina (Rus) 11.809
22. Kristine Bayley (Aus) 11.957
23. Renata Dabrowska (Pol) 11.972
24. Helena Casas (Sp) 12.596
DNQ: Tamilla Abassova (Rus) 14.561

First round
Shuang Guo (Chn) 12.359 bt Helena Casas (Sp)
Simona Krupeckaite (Ltu) 12.223 bt Renata Dabrowska (Pol)
Victoria Pendleton (GB) 12.555 Kristine Bayley (Aus)
Clara Sanchez (F) 12.129 bt Oksana Grishina (Rus)
Anna Meares (Aus) 12.022 bt Miriam Welte (G)
Natallia Tsylinskaya (Blr) 11.901 bt Diana Garcia (Col)
Lisandra Rodriguez Guerra (Cub) 11.805 bt Jane Gerisch (G)
Dana Gloss (G) 11.888 bt Willy Kanis (Ned)
Svetlana Grankovskaya (Rus) 12.273 bt Lulu Zheng (Chn)
Anna Blyth (GB) 12.219 bt Jennie Reed (USA)
Christin Muche (G) 11.983 bt Yvonne Hijgenaar (Ned)
Daniela Larreal (Ven) 12.257 bt Jinjie Gong (Chn)

Second round
Shuang Guo (Chn) 11.755 bt Daniela Larreal (Ven)
Simona Krupeckaite (Ltu) 11.774 bt Christin Muche (G)
Victoria Pendleton (GB) 11.775 bt Anna Blyth (GB)
Clara Sanchez (F) 12.003 bt Svetlana Grankovskaya (Rus)
Anna Meares (Aus) 11.908 bt Dana Gloss (G)
Natallia Tsylinskaya (Blr) 12.001 bt Lisandra Rodriguez Guerra (Cub)

Second round repechages (join second-round winners in quarterfinals)
Lisandra Rodriguez Guerra (Cub) 12.179 bt Svetlana Grankovskaya (Rus) and Daniela Larreal (Ven)
Christin Muche (G) 12.034 bt Anna Blyth (GB) and Dana Gloss (G)

Shuang Guo (Chn) 12.136 and 12.162 bt Christin Muche (G)
Lisandra Rodriguez Guerra (Cub) 11.707 and 11.822 bt Simona Krupeckaite (Ltu)
Victoria Pendleton (GB) 11.974 and 11.678 bt Natallia Tsylinskaya (Blr)
Clara Sanchez (F) 11.815 bt Anna Meares (Aus)
Anna Meares (Aus) 11.857 and 14.008 bt Clara Sanchez (F)


Shuang Guo (Chn), Lisandra Rodriguez Guerra (Cub), Victoria Pendleton (GB), Anna Meares (Aus)

Individual pursuit

Sarah Hammer (USA) 3min 30.213sec bt Rebecca Romero (GB) 3:33.409

Bronze medal
Katie Mactier (Aus) 3:36.3 bt Wendy Houvenaghel (GB) 3:37.4

1. Sarah Hammer (USA) 3:31.35
2. Rebecca Romero (GB) 3:31.89
3. Katie Mactier (Aus) 3:35.03
4. Wendy Houvenaghel (GB) 3:35.28
5. Karen Thurig (Swi) 3:36.12
6. Maria Calle Williams (Col) 3:36.97
7. Lesya Kalitovska (Ukr) 3:37.33
8. Allison Shanks (NZL) 3:37.71
9. Verena Joos (G) 3:38.82
10. Lada Kozlikova (Cze) 3:39.29
11. Vilija Sereikaite (Ltu) 3:40.41
12. Larissa Kleinmann (G) 3:40.72
13. Katherine Bates (Aus) 3:40.77
14. Cathy Moncassin (F) 3:40.98
15. Trine Schmidt (Den) 3:41.28
16. Leire Olaberria (Sp) 3:41.9
17. Marlijn Binnendijk (Ned) 3:43.34
18. Olga Slyusareva (Rus) 3:43.75
19. Elizaveta Bochkarova (Ukr) 3:44.6
20. Meifang Li (Chn) 3:45.6
21. Martina Ruzickova (Cze) 3:46.1
22. Li Wang (Chn) 3:49.9
23. Anita Valen (Nor) 3:49.3
24. Neva Day (USA) 3:50.99

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