By Ben Delaney
The United States’ first-ever UCI pro track team made a powerful debut on the first evening of the Los Angeles World Cup, with Spike rider Becky Quinn claiming silver in the women’s points race. With two U.S. national team women also in the mix, Quinn secured the silver medal behind gold medalist Italian Giorgia Bronzini after taking the final sprint.
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Quinn scored two second-place sprints to get into contention. Then, with two laps remaining, U.S. national rider Lauren Franges got to the front with Quinn on her wheel. With one lap to go, Canadian Mandy Poitras, attempting to lead out her teammate Gina Grain, overtook Franges, but Quinn maintained her second-wheel spot, forcing Grain into third position. Quinn wound up her sprint with half a lap to go and won the final double-points sprint handily.
“I actually thought the race was going to be won in a breakaway so I had initially thought to play it conservatively, plan on an attack going off, and being in the break,” Quinn said. “My teammate Lauren really helped me in the end. She kept the pace high and steady so there wouldn’t be any surprises for me.”
The Spike Pro Cycling Team is one of only a handful of trade teams worldwide that meet new UCI regulations for pro track team status — which includes mandatory minimum rider salaries and health insurance.
In other events, Shane John Kelly of Australia won the keirin, besting world keirin champion Teun Mulder of the Netherlands and Jamie Staff of Great Britain. With a ferocious effort, Kelly hit the front with just more than a lap to go, and held his advantage to the line.
“I’m comfortable with sprinting that distance,” Kelly said of the 260-meter effort.
In the men’s 60-lap scratch race, a three-man move established itself over a languishing field with about 42 laps to go. Argentina’s Walter Perez, Ivan Kovalev of Omnibike Dynamo and Taiji Nishitani of Japan quickly fell into an efficient and determined rotation, and gained a lap with 34 to go. Other moves went and were brought back, until Belarus’ Vasili Kiryienka set off on a solo move that the field did not chase. With 18 laps remaining he made contact with the field, cheered on by a crowd of hundreds. In the end, Perez finished ahead of the other three to claim the win.
“The plan from the beginning was to get into a small group of three to five riders,” Perez said, because he is more confident in his sprint in such a situation. But Perez came to Los Angeles focused on the Madison — the event in which he was world champion two years ago.
In the men’s pursuit, Spain’s Sergio Escobar Roure took the gold with a time 4:13.269, followed by Jens Mouris of the Netherlands — who scored the overall World Cup pursuit jersey — and Jason Allen of New Zealand.
The women’s sprint was won by Natallia Tsylinskaya of Belarus over France’s Clara Sanchez.
Ben Kersten of Australia won the men’s kilo with a time of 102.760, followed by Tim Veldt of the Netherlands and Francois Pervis of France.
VeloNews.com’s World Cup coverage continues Saturday with team and individual pursuits, the women’s 500m time trial, the men’s match sprint and men’s points race.
For in-depth coverage of the World Cup weekend — and a feature on the Spike Pro Cycling Team — check out the Feb. 7 print issue of VeloNews.