By Martin Ayres , VeloNews correspondent
In the final day of competition at the world track championships in Antwerp, Belgium, a dramatic keirin final ended with only two men left upright. Australian Ryan Bayley was first across the line ahead of France’s Laurent Gane. The other four finalists — Jens Fiedler, Jobie Dajka, Pavel Buran and Florian Rousseau — were lying in a tangle of bikes and bodies on the back straight. The high-speed pile-up saw bike parts and riders flying through the air.
Fiedler ran the final 125 meters carrying his bike to become possibly the first track cyclist to win a world bronze medal on foot. France’s Rousseau somersaulted from the top to the bottom of the banking and was carried off on a stretcher.
Bayley’s team-mate Jobie Dajka was disqualified from the final for dangerous riding.
In other action, Russia’s Olga Slioussareva finally won the points race rainbow jersey after finishing third at both Sydney 2000 and the Manchester world championships.
The 25-kilometer women’s championship developed into a battle between Slioussareva and Australia’s Kathy Bates, who had featured in a lap-gaining breakaway with eight kilometers remaining.
The Netherlands’ Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel was in contention at this stage and was chasing the break when she had to make a bike change due to loose saddle.
Bates marked Slioussareva closely in the closing laps. However, the Russian gave her the slip with two laps to go and clinched the title with double points in the final sprint.
Mexico gained its second medal in two days with Belem Guerrero Mendez taking the bronze.
America’ s Erin Mirabella shared the lead with Zijlaard-Van Moorsel until the race-winning break went clear. They remained locked together until the end, Zijlaard-Van Moorsel placing fifth and Mirabella sixth.
The Madison title went to France for the first time, thanks to smart tactical riding by Jerome Neuville and Robert Sassone, who took the title with a one-lap advantage of Spain’s Isaac Galvez Lopez and Joan Llaneras Rossello, with Argentine brothers Gabriel and Juan Curuchet taking the bronze.
The other main challengers, Switzerland (Alexander Asbach-Franco Marvulli) and Australia (Graeme Brown-Scott McGrory), finished a further lap adrift.
France ended the series as top nation with five title wins (Kilometer, TT, Olympic sprint, men’s sprint and Madison). Ukraine had two (men’s individual and team pursuits), and Russia also had two (women’s sprint and points).