Bradley McGee signaled his intentions to better his Olympic bronze medal from four years ago when Athens comes around by scoring a comprehensive World Cup win in the 4000-meter individual pursuit Friday night in Manchester, England.
The Australian, who rides with the French professional road team FDJeux.com, finished nearly seven seconds ahead of Sergi Escobar Roure in the final with a time of 4:19.696. Great Britain’s Paul Manning won the ride-off for bronze against Russian Alexander Serov.
The event was McGee’s only chance of staking his claim to a spot on the Australian Olympic team before he embarks on a heavy road program, including the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.
“I won’t lie down and rest until I’ve got a gold at the Olympics,” McGee said on his return to the track where he won the Commonwealth title in 2002, just days after completing the Tour de France. “This year feels like a hotter chance than ever.”
McGee will have just three weeks between the end of the Tour de France and the Olympic Games, but the 2002 world pursuit champion is not worried about putting in a full road season before he takes to the track in Athens.
“It’s proven in the past, I’m better for it,” he said. “Tonight, I’m there but I feel I’m missing something and it’s a three-week tour. It gives you legs like nothing else. You feel like 10 men, you can go all day, it’s just having the skill and technique and put it with the utter drive you get out of those road races, not only do you go faster, you go faster every round, and to get a medal, you’ve got to.”
McGee had experimented with a big gear in the heat, which he won comfortably in 4:21.125, passing Escobar Roure around the halfway mark.
Escobar Roure was still the second fastest qualifier with 4:25.928 to set up another meeting with McGee in the ride-off for gold and silver.
“I never get the perfect track preparation so there’s always a lot of questions left to answer when I arrive on the track,” McGee said. “I was still happy with the time this morning but I knew it wasn’t quite where I was and tonight’s more like it.”
McGee will also contest the team pursuit on Saturday.
In other racing, McGee’s Australian and FDJeux.com teammate, Mark Renshaw, won the scratch race from Frenchman Franck Perque, with Great Britain’s Robert Hayles third.
15km scratch race
1. Mark Renshaw (Aus)
2. Franck Perque (F)
3. Robert Hayles (GB)
4000m individual pursuit
1. Bradley McGee (Aus), 4:19.696
2. Sergi Escobar Roure (Sp), 4:26.690
3. Paul Manning (GB), 4:42.869
Kilometer time trial
1. Craig MacLean (GB) 1:01.689
2. Theo Bos (Ned) 1:02.675
3. Sören Lausberg (G) 1:02.822
1. Shane Kelly (Aus)
2. Josiah Ng (Mas)
3. Florian Rousseau (F)
20km points race
1. Katherine Bates (Aus), 38pts
2. Hanka Kupfernagel (G) 31
3. Belem Guerrero Mendez (Mex), 29
1. Victoria Pendleton (GB)
2. Irina Yanovych (Ukr)
3. Susan Panzer (G)