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Olympic pursuit champion Bradley Wiggins lifted British spirits by successfully defending his
individual pursuit crown here at the world track cycling championships on Wednesday.
Wiggins overpowered surprise Dutch finalist Jenning Huizenga in a time of 4:18.519 to claim his second consecutive gold after his victory in Mallorca last year.
Huizenga, who had beaten Wiggins in qualifying, finished in 4:23.474 to claim the silver medal.
Russian Alexei Markov claimed the bronze after beating New Zealand’s Hayden Roulston in their medal match-up.
Wiggins will line up with the British pursuit team on Thursday when they aim to defend their crown, with a tilt at Australia’s world record also a possibility on the speedy Manchester boards.
In the meantime the 27-year-old Wiggins admitted he was glad to have finished the job after given himself a scare in the morning qualifying session.
“It’s a relief to get the job done,” said Wiggins, who had been in danger on not making the final when Huizenga came creeping back to pip him at the post and top qualifying in a time of 4:16.343. Wiggins finished in 4:17.024.
The Englishman had not expected Huizenga to knock a massive eight seconds off his previous personal best for the 16-lap event.
“I got carried away a bit earlier in qualifying,” Wiggins explained. “I cut the throttle back in the last two kilometres to save something for the final.”
The previous best time of Huizenga, who only started track racing a-year-and-a-half ago, was around the 4:24.0 mark. He said coming up against the world and Olympic champion had given him a spur.
“When I heard I was going to be against Wiggins in my heat it gave me huge motivation,” said Huizenga, who will celebrate his 24th birthday on Saturday.
Both the British and Dutch teams were stunned on the opening day of the competition when they had a rider pulled out after failing blood screening tests.
Women’s 500 meter
Also at the championships on Wednesday, Lisandra Guerra produced a powerful ride to hand Cuba their first gold medal in the women’s 500-meter time trial.
Guerra, the reigning World Cup champion in the two-lap race against the clock, finished outside her personal best but in a winning time of 34.021.
Simona Krupeckaite of Lithuania finished second in 34.066 to claim the silver with Sandie Clair of France claiming the bronze in 34.253.
Defending world champion and Olympic champion Anna Meares is absent from the championships.
The Australian, who also holds the world record in a time of 33.588, is recovering from neck, arm and back injuries suffered at the Los Angeles round of the World Cup in January.
After dominating the World Cup in the event this season Guerra goes one better than her silver medal last year, where Meares produced her record-setting performance to keep the Cuban down in second place.
At last year’s world championships in Spain, Cuban Yumari Gonzalez claimed
gold in the women’s’ scratch race.
Mens team sprint
Reigning champions France successfully defended their men’s team sprint crown after overpowering Britain in the final.
France took gold in a new world best time of 43.271sec, leaving Britain to pick up the silver medal for the third year in a row.
The Netherlands took the bronze after beating Germany in their medal match-up.
France have now won the coveted three-man sprint event seven times in the past decade at the world championships.
Britain’s only victories in the event were in 2002 and 2005.
Men’s scratch sprint
Aliaksandr Lisouski of Belarus won the men’s scratch crown Wednesday.
Lisouski held off the chasing pack in the final centimetres of what proved to be a thrilling race to take the gold medal ahead of Wim Stroetinga of the Netherlands. Roger Kluge of Germany came third to take the bronze.
Results from the first day of the world track cycling championships in Manchester, England:
Final – Bradley Wiggins (GBR) 4:18.519 defeats Jenning Huizenga (NED) 4:23.474
Bronze medal – Alexei Markov (RUS) 4:21.097 defeats Hayden Roulston (NZL)
1. Jenning Huizenga (NED), 4:16.343
2. Bradley Wiggins (GBR), 4:17.024
3. Alexei Markov (RUS), 4:18.242
4. Hayden Roulston (NZL), 4:18.334
5. Bradley McGee (AUS), 4:20.430
6. David O’Loughlin (IRL), 4:20.910
7. Luke Roberts (AUS), 4:21.891
8. Taylor Phinney (USA), 4:22.358
9. Antonio Tauler (ESP), 4:22.654
10. Volodymyr Dyudya (UKR), 4:22.728
11. Alexander Serov (RUS), 4:22.742
12. Dominique Cornu (BEL), 4:22.786
13. Sergi Escobar (ESP), 4:24.127
14. Jens Mouris (NED), 4:24.475
15. Marc Ryan (NZL), 4:24.775
16. Robert Bartko (GER), 4:25.142
Final – France (Gregory Bauge, Kevin Sireau, Arnaud Tournant) 43.271sec defeats Great Britain (Jamie Staff, Ross Edgar, Chris Hoy) 43.777
Bronze medal – Netherlands (Teun Mulder, Theo Bos, Tim Veldt) 43.717 defeats Germany (Rene Enders, Maximilian Levy, Stefan Nimke) 44.275
1. Aliaksandr Lisouski (BLR)
2. Wim Stroetinga (NED)
3. Roger Kluge (GER)
4. Rafal Katajczyk (POL)
5. Angel Colla (ARG)
6. Kazuhiro Mori (JPN)
7. Andreas Mueller (AUT)
8. Juan Pablo Forero Carreno (COL)
9. Hayden Godfrey (NZL)
10. Luis Mansilla (CHI)
11. Martin Blaha (CZE)
12. Daniel Kreutzfeldt (DEN)
13. Jerome Neuville (FRA)
14. Tim Mertens (BEL)
15. Ho Ting Kwok (HKG)
16. Vadim Shaekhov (UZB)
17. Martino Marcotto (ITA)
18. Michael Friedman (USA)
19. Ivan Kovalev (RUS)
20. Leigh Howard (AUS)
DNF: Steven Burke (GBR)
Hariff Salleh (MAS)
Oleksandr Martynenko (UKR)
500 meter time trial
1. Lisandra Guerra (CUB) 34.021sec
2. Simona Krupeckaite (LTU) 34.066
3. Sandie Clair (FRA) 34.253
4. Willy Kanis (NED) 34.254
5. Jinjie Gong (CHN) 34.449
6. Miriam Welte (GER) 34.666
7. Shanaze Reade (GBR) 34.702
8. Natallia Tsylinskaya (BLR) 34.725
8. Anna Blyth (GBR) 34.792
9. Yvonne Hijgenaar (NED) 34.896
10. Lulu Zheng (CHN) 34.992
11. Kaarle McCulloch (AUS) 35.026
12. Lyubov Shulika (UKR) 35.267
13. Diana Garcia Orrego (COL) 35.505
14. Virginie Cueff (FRA) 35.520
15. Jutatip Maneephan (THA) 37.545