Olympics

World track championships: France scores win in points race and Olympic sprint

France’s Franck Perque won the men's points race over 40 kilometers on the opening night of the world cycling track championships in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday. Perque raised his arms in triumph in claiming France's first-ever points race gold medal at the world championships with a tally of 35 points. Uruguay's Milton Wynants, who fell in a collision with Australian Mark Renshaw and rejoined the race 16 laps from home, took the silver medal with 31 points from Argentina's Juan Esteban Curuchet third with 28 points. "It's great to be able to carry the French emblem but I don't feel

By VeloNews Interactive, With wire services

France’s Franck Perque won the men’s points race over 40 kilometers on the opening night of the world cycling track championships in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday.

Perque raised his arms in triumph in claiming France’s first-ever points race gold medal at the world championships with a tally of 35 points.

Uruguay’s Milton Wynants, who fell in a collision with Australian Mark Renshaw and rejoined the race 16 laps from home, took the silver medal with 31 points from Argentina’s Juan Esteban Curuchet third with 28 points.

“It’s great to be able to carry the French emblem but I don’t feel yet like a world champion… it’s a crazy feeling,” Perque said. “I was sick last week so I didn’t know where I was. The race was very hard. I had to keep going and have enough energy for the last sprint. I was exhausted at the start but I had to think about my tactics and execute them until the final sprint.”

Perque took over from Curuchet after winning the 10th sprint and extended his lead to four points with a fourth in the 11th sprint and his second win in the 12th sprint to open up a six-point break.

Wynants pulled to within three points after a second placing in the 14th sprint but Perque had enough to hold on and claimed another point in the penultimate 15th sprint.

Three-time world champion Joan Llaneras Rosello of Spain finished strongly in a breakaway winning three of the last four sprints to grab fourth placing with 27 points.

Perque with French teammate Jerome Neuville won the 50-kilometer Madison at the 2002 world championships in Copenhagen.

Defending world champion Franz Stocher of Austria was seventh with 23 points.

The U.S. missed an opportunity for an automatic qualification through a performance at the world championships. A top-four finish by Colby Pearce would have given the U.S. an automatic start at the Olympic Games in the points race, but Pearce placed 15th.

Nonetheless, Pearce’s third place in the overall world cup standings should hold up to give the U.S. a start position in Athens for the event.

Team Sprint
France also won the men’s team sprint in the gold medal race with Spain.

Out of the 15 teams on the start list, the fastest eight in the qualifying heat advanced to the nextround. And as a top -eight time in qualifying was possible for the U.S., even a top-ten time would automatically secure the U.S. a start position in Athens in not only the team sprint, but also the individual sprint, the kilometer time trial, and the keirin.

As the first team off the blocks, Russia would post what would eventually become the evening’s slowest qualifying time of 47.681 seconds. As the U.S. and the Czech Republic took to the track next. The U.S. posted a time of 46.499 as the Czech Republic clocked a 46.526 briefly giving the U.S. squad of Adam Duvendeck (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Giddeon Massie (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Christian Stahl (Bethany, Conn.) the fastest time of the evening. It wouldn’t last long.

In the following pairing, Slovakia’s time eclipsed that of the Americans with a 45.880, but New Zealand ran a slightly slower 46.581. In the next group, Cuba posted a 46.561 meaning that the U.S. trio had bested four out of the first six teams to ride and only had to outride one more team to secure a top-10 finish.

The remaining teams put in solid performances and the last eight teams to ride all posted faster times than the U.S. The result was not only an exclusion from the first round of eight, but also a finish out of the top-10, placing 11th overall.

Under UCI guidelines, the top-10 teams at the world championships qualify a start position for the Olympic Games in the team sprint and those top-10 teams are also allotted a start position in the individual sprint, the kilometer time trial and the keirin. Although the U.S. squad missed that qualification criterion, UCI guidelines also stipulate that the top-two teams in the overall world cup standings not otherwise qualified through world championship competition would earn a start position for Athens.

The U.S. finished the world cup season ninth overall and seven of the eight teams ahead of them all placed in the top-10 this evening. Only Cuba, who was ranked eighth overall in the world cup standings, did not post a top-10 finish tonight. That means that Cuba and the U.S. should receive a start position in the team sprint in Athens as the top-two world cup teams that did not place in the top-10 at the world championships.

Unfortunately for the U.S., only qualification as a top-10 team at the world championships translates into an automatic spot in the individual sprint, the kilometer time trial and the keirin.

Official allotment of start positions in the team sprint are expected to be announced by the UCI later during the the world championships.

Medal Round
In round one, France and Spain posted the fastest times to advance to the gold medal match while Great Britain and Germany clocked the next fastest times and were placed together in the bronze medal ride.

In the medal rounds, Great Britain took the bronze from Germany before the French team of Mickael Bourgain, Laurent Gane and Arnaud Tournant rode to a world championship in the gold medal round ahead of Spain.

Results- Men’s Points Race

1 Franck Perque (F) 35 pts
2 Milton Wynants (Urg) 31
3 Juan Esteban Curuchet (Arg) 28
4 Joan Llaneras Rosello (Sp) 27
5 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) 27
6 Makoto Iijima (Jp) 26
7 Franz Stocher (A) 23
8 Milan Kadlec (Cz) 21
9 Angelo Ciccone (I) 20
10 Nikita Eskov (Rus) 15
11 Jos Pronk (Nl) 13
12 Greg Henderson (NZ) 12
13 Vasyl Yakovlev (Ukr) 12
14 Russel Downing (GB) 11
15 Colby Pearce (USA) 11
16 Marco Arriagada (Chile) 8
17 Matthew Gilmore (B) 7
18 Tomas Vaitkus (Lit) 1
19 Sven Teutenberg (G)
DNF Alexander Gonzalez (Col)
DNF Siarhei Daubniuk (Blr) -35
DNF Kyung Bang Song (Kor) -40
DNF Mark Renshaw (Aus) 3
DNF Prajak Mahawong (Thai) -20