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By Neal Rogers
While Australia’s elite track program continues to facehardships and scandal, the country’s juniors have taken a strongholdat the junior track world championships, held at the new Home Depot Center’sADT Event Center velodrome in Carson, California, outside of Los Angeles.
Two days into the five-day event, held July 28 through August 1, Australiahas taken three gold medals in six events; Germany leads the medal countwith five.
Perhaps the greatest beacon of hope for the program’s new blood comesin the form of Michael Ford, the reigning junior world record holder inthe 3km individual pursuit. On April 29, Ford broke the record held bycountryman Bradley McGee at the Australian junior track nationals in Aprilby nearly two seconds. Three months to the day, Ford took the world title.
While he wouldn’t shatter any records Thursday night on the new velodromein Los Angeles, the stocky-built Ford lived up to his pre-race favoritestatus by taking the title light years ahead of German Sascha Damrow.
Ford admitted the pressure was on to perform, but he welcomed the challenge.Instead, Damrow gave the Australian little challenge, finishing the distancealmost nine seconds slower after expending his energy in a strong qualifyingride. Damrow’s silver was the fifth medal for Germany in the first twodays of racing.
The silver medalist in the same event last year, Ford said the memoryof standing on the podium and watching a competitor put on the rainbowjersey served as a motivator. “I thought about that a lot,” he said. “Everytime I was training.”
Another gold medal may be in store for Ford on Friday, as Australia’steam pursuit squad heads into the race as the overwhelming favorite.
Men’s 3km individual pursuit
1. Michael Ford (Australia) 3:21.802 (53.518kph)
2. Sascha Damrow (Germany 3:30.453 (51.318kph)
3. Patrick Gretsch (Germany) 3:22.770 (53.262kph)
4. Ivan Kovalev (Russia) 3:27.196 (52.125kph)
5. Miles Olman (Australia)
6. Alexandru Pliuschin (Moldavia)
7. Matthew Haydock (New Zealand)
8. Kyle Swain (South Africa)
Sharing a matching new rainbow jersey with Ford is teammate Shane Perkins,who took the keirin title ahead of another teammate, Daniel Thorsen. Perkins,17, has been racing on the velodrome for five years and has raced againstboth Ford and Thorsen for years. Both Aussies were winners of their qualifyingheats.
In the dash for the line the bleached-blond Perkins played his positionto perfection, decisively out sprinting Thorsen. Francesco Kanda (Italy)took the bronze medal ahead of American Ryan Nelman, who had won his qualifyingheat earlier in the day.
Sitting fifth wheel as the electric motorbike pulled off the track —the only covered velodrome in the U.S. won’t be using fuel-powered vehicles— Nelman waited until the final lap to make his move but came just shortof a medal. Nelman complained to officials that Kanda hadn’t held his linein the sprint, but the result stood.
It was the second consecutive keirin silver for Thorsen, who finishedthe same last year in Moscow.
1. Shane Perkins (Australia), 10.995 (65.484 kph)
2. Daniel Thorsen (Australia)
3. Francesco Kanda (Italy)
4. Ryan Nelman (USA)
5. Matthew Crampton (Great Britain)
6. Denis Dmitriev (Russia)
Women 500m time trial
China’s Shuang Guo successfully defended her title as fastest juniorin the 500-meter time trial as the only rider to put a sub-36-second performance.Germans Miriam Welte and Jane Gerisch took silver and bronze, respectively.The top American finsiher was Tela Crane, in 13th.
Guo will also race the keirin Friday.
Women 500m time trial
1 Shuang Guo (China) – 35.821 (50.250kph)
2 Miriam Welte (Germany) – 36.560 (49.234kph)
3 Jane Gerisch (Germany) – 36.719 (49.021kph)
4 Elodie Henriette (France) – 36.990 (48.662kph)
5 Annalisa Cucinotta (Italy) – 37.127 (48.482kph)
6 Jin A You (Korea) – 37.413 (48.112kph)
7 Hayley Wright (Australia) – 37.436 (48.082kph)
8 Jennifer Loutit (Australia) – 37.577 (47.902kph)
9 Marlijn Binnendijk (Netherlands) – 38.050 (47.306kph)
10 Bridgette Broad (New Zealand) – 38.056 (47.299kph)
11 Olga Streltsova (Russia) – 38.655 (46.566kph)
12 Laura Brown (Canada) – 38.684 (46.531kph)
13 Tela Crane (USA) – 38.895 (46.278kph)
14 Irene Aravena (Chile) – 39.046 (46.099kph)
15 Natalie Klemko (USA) – 39.307 (45.793kph)
16 Mylene Laliberte (Canada) – 39.780 (45.249kph)
17 Natalia Prokurorova (Russia) – 39.969 (45.035kph)
Day One, July 28
Australian Amanda Spratt set the tone for her country’s gold medaldominance, winning the first race of the event, the women’s points race.Spratt took 19 points over Korean Choe Sun Ae, at 10 points; with 8 points,Florence Girardet (France) took bronze. American Kimberly Geist finished11th.
Women’s 20km points race
1 Amanda Spratt (Australia) – 19 pts – 27:30.57 (43.621kph)
2 Choe Sun Ae (Korea) – 10
3 Florence Girardet (France) – 8
4 Roxane Knetemann (Netherlands) – 8
5 Karen Verbeek (Belgium) – 8
6 Elena Raspopina (Russia) – 8
7 Stephanie Pohl (Germany) – 7
8 Jarmila Machacova (Czech Republic) – 7
9 Rebecca Bertolo (Italy) – 5
10 Andrea Wolfer (Switzerland) – 3
11 Kimberly Geist (USA) – 3
12 Paddy Walker (New Zealand) – 1
13 Paola Munoz (Chile) – 1
14 Berenice Castro (Mexico) –
(One lap behind )
15 Naomi Cooper (Canada) – 20
Men’s 1km time trial
German sprinter Maximilian Levy narrowly took the kilo title aheadof Korean Kang Dong Jin; just four-tenths of a second separated gold fromsilver. Taking third was David Cabrol (France). American Aaron Kacala finishedtenth, 2.5 seconds off the winning time.
Men’s 1km time trial
1 Maximilian Levy (Germany) – 1.05.307 (55.124kph)
2 Kang Dong Jin (Korea) – 1.05.751 (54.752kph)
3 David Cabrol (France) – 1.06.150 (54.422kph)
4 Stoyan Vasev (Russia) – 1.06.423 (54.198kph)
5 Benjamin Wittmann (Germany) – 1.06.786 (53.904kph)
6 Kazumichi Sugata (Japan) – 1.06.842 (53.858kph)
7 Joshua England (New Zealand) – 1.07.158 (53.605kph)
8 Denis Rivenaire (France) – 1.07.167 (53.598kph)
9 Maxim Tarakanov (Russia) – 1.07.304 (53.489kph)
10 Aaron Kacala (USA) – 1.07.714 (53.165kph)
11 Corey Heath (Australia) – 1.07.994 (52.946kph)
12 Yu Onishi (Japan) – 1.08.193 (52.791kph)
13 Tomas Babek (Czech Republic) – 1.08.438 (52.602kph)
14 Athanasios Lefakis (Greece) – 1.08.546 (52.519kph)
15 Francesco Kanda (Italy) – 1.08.798 (52.327kph)
16 Yondi Schmidt (Netherlands) – 1.08.896 (52.253kph)
17 Ivo Vildomec (Czech Republic) – 1.09.160 (52.053kph)
18 Bas Eckmann (Netherlands) – 1.10.068 (51.379kph)
19 Gregory Ferreira Martinez (Colombia) 1.10.082 (51.368kph)
20 Dimitrios Kalamaras (Greece) – 1.10.324 (51.192kph)
21 Mark Macdonald (Canada) – 1.10.553 (51.025kph)
22 Zach Grant (Canada) – 1.11.170 (50.583kph)
23 Christopher Sellier (Trinidad) – 1.11.324 (50.474kph)
24 José Piedra Cobos (Equador) – 1.11.599 (50.280kph)
25 Eduardo Duchimaza (Equador) – 1.12.124 (49.914kph)
26 Patrick Knezevic (Austria) – 1.12.546 (49.624kph)
27 Yury Yurchanka (Bielorussia) – 1.13.772 (48.799kph)
Men’s 10km scratch race
Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas took the gold in the men’s scratch race,out sprinting an escape group of six riders. Luis Mansilla (Chile) tooksilver, with Alexandru Pliuschin (Moldavia) taking bronze. American MichaelSchnabel finished with the main group, in 18th.
1 Geraint Thomas (Great Britain) 11:40.125 (51.419 km/h)
2 Luis Mansilla (Chile)
3 Alexandru Pliuschin (Moldavia)
4 Adam Coker (New Zealand)
5 Kyle Swain (South Africa)
6 Joo Hyun Wook (Korea)
One lap behind
7 Patrick Kos (Netherlands)
8 Teruya Bosyu (Japan)
9 Jiri Hochmann (Czech Republic)
10 Marcel Barth (Germany)
11 Kim M. Nielsen (Denmark)
12 Georg Tazreiter (Austria)
13 Enrico Biondi (Italy)
14 Rafâa Chtioui (Tunisia)
15 Charly Vives (Canada)
16 Alexandr Silaichev (Kazakhstan)
17 Tuanua Zahn (France)
18 Michael Schnabel (USA)
19 Tim Roels (Belgium)
20 Daniel Thorsen (Australia)
DNF Pedro Vélez Alcivar (Equador)
DNF Simone Biaggi (Switzerland)
DNF Yury Yurchanka (Bielorussia)
DNF Kenardo Dunn (Jamaica)
DNF Pavel Korzh (Russia)
2004 UCI Junior Track World Championships ScheduleDay 1, July 28: Men Individual Pursuit qualifying, Men Kilometertime trial, Men Scratch 10 km, Women Points race 20 kmDay 2, July 29: Men Individual pursuit, Men Keirin, Women 500m timetrial, Women Individual pursuitDay 3, July 30: Men’s 24 km points race, Men Sprint qualifying,Men Team pursuit qualifying, Women Individual pursuit, Women KeirinDay 4, July 31: Men Sprint, Men Team pursuit, Women Scratch 7.5km, Women Sprint qualifyingDay 5, August 1: Men Madison 30 km, Men Team sprint, Women Sprint