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By Neal Rogers
After narrowly missing a rainbow jersey in the 200-meter sprint at the junior world track championships on Saturday, Michael Blatchford was looking toward Sunday night’s team sprint as an opportunity for redemption.
“We’ll get another chance tomorrow,” said the 18-year-old U.S. junior national sprint champion after taking the silver behind Australia’s Shane Perkins at the ADT Event Center velodrome near Los Angeles, California.
Come Sunday, once again it was the U.S. versus Australia – but this time, the race was for bronze, after Germany and Japan advanced to the gold-medal round.
In the qualifying round, Americans Ben Barczewski, Michael Blatchford and Ryan Nelman clocked a 47.482 to qualify fifth to face France in round one. Germany put up the fastest time, registering a 46.638 over the 750 meters to secure the top seed.
In the first round, kilo rider Aaron Kacala replaced Nelman and the trio disposed of France by just .08 second to advance to the bronze-medal ride against Australia.
The same three riders lined up to face the Aussie squad. Barczewski opened up a half-second lead, and Blatchford held the pace through the second lap but the Australians made up enough time in the final lap to take the bronze medal with a time of 46.861. It was almost a step down for the Australians, who collected 12 medals at junior world’s, six of them gold.
Team USA came through in 47.096 to finish fourth overall behind Germany (Robert Forstemann, Benjamin Whitmann and Maximilian Levy), which beat Japan for the gold.
Australia also dominated a crash-marred 16-team Madison, with Olman and Matthew Goss scoring 26 points to Belgium’s 12 and France’s 11. Germany also scored 11 points, and the tie was broken due to Belgium having won a sprint in the first of the six sprints over the 120 laps. Germany finished second in the team competition with 11 medals, three of them gold.
Americans Daniel Holloway and Michael Chauner fell a lap down early in the race and abandoned after Chauner crashed hard at 20 laps to go after colliding with a Russian rider.
In the women’s sprint, meanwhile, the real race was for second place as China’s Guo Shuang, already a gold medalist in the keirin and the 500m time trial, went undefeated on her way to a third gold medal.
Shuang, who has won two gold medals at the elite level in the keirin, faced Korea’s Jin A You in the finals. Jin A You put in a photo finish ride in the first heat, but lost out to Shuang, who disposed of her in round two for a third rainbow jersey of the tournament. German Miriam Welte took bronze to add to her two silver medals behind Shuang in the keirin and 500m-time trial.
1. Shuang Guo (China)
2. Jin A You (Korea)
3. Miriam Welte (Germany)
4. Jane Gerisch (Germany)
5. Hayley Wright (Australia)
6. Elodie Henriette (France)
7. Annalisa Cucinotta (Italy)
8. Bridgette Broad (New Zealand)
9. Franziska König (Germany)
10. Tela Crane (USA)
Men’s team sprint
1. Germany (Robert Förstemann, Maximilian Levy, Benjamin Wittmann), 46.284 (58.335km/h)
2. Japan (Yu Onishi, Atsushi Shibasaki, Kazumichi Sugata)
3. Australia (Corey Heath, Shane Perkins, Daniel Thorsen)
4. USA (Ben Barczewski, Michael Blatchford, Aaron Kacala)
5. Russia (Denis Dmitriev, Mikhail Shikhalev, Stoyan Vasev)
6. France (David Cabrol, Denis Rivenaire, Sireau Kévin)
7. Greece (Panagiotis Barmpopoulos, Dimitrios Kalamaras, Athanasios Lefakis)
8. Czech Republic (Tomas Babek, Zbysek Mityska, Ivo Vildomec)
9. Netherlands (Bas Eckmann, Lars Jun, Yondi Schmidt)
10. Canada (Zach Grant, Mark Macdonald, Rene Regimbauld)
1. Australia (Matthew Goss/Miles Olman), 26pts
2. Belgium (Tim Mertens/Tim Roels), 12
3. France (Besson Jérémy/Tuanua Zahn), 11
4. Germany (Marcel Barth/Sascha Damrow), 11
5. Russia (Sergey Kolesnikov/Ivan Kovalev), 6
6. Switzerland (Maxime Bally/Alain Lauener)
7. Chile (Juan Bravo/Luis Mansilla)
8. Austria (Stefan Patzl/Georg Tazreiter)
One lap behind
9. Czech Republic (Vojtech Hacecky/Jiri Hochmann)
10. Netherlands (Lars Jun/Patrick Kos)
11. Korea (Kang Dong Jin/Joo Hyun Wook)
Two laps behind
12. Kazakhstan (Yevgeniy Maximov/Alexey Zaitsev)
DNF Great Britain (Geraint Thomas/Thomas Walters)
DNF Italy (Jacopo Guarnieri/Daniele Menaspa)
DNF New Zealand (Adam Coker/Matthew Haydock)
DNF USA (Michael Chauner/Daniel Holloway)