The penultimate round of the 2011-12 Track World Cup Series got under way in Beijing this afternoon with qualifying for the Men’s and Women’s Team Pursuit. With next month’s London round an invaluable opportunity to get to know the Olympic track, many of the big names are missing from Beijing, which should make for some interesting racing.
Men’s Team Pursuit
With four squads to go, the fast improving Koreans were on top of the leaderboard with a time of 4:09.091 – just ahead of the Ukraine, Germany and the Netherlands – the four of them separated by four tenths of a second. The first of the Big Four team pursuit nations to ride was Great Britain the unfamiliar looking line up of Mark Christian, Sam Harrison, Joe Kelly and Simon Yates officially there for the experience of a major competition.
And, encouragingly, they were guaranteed some more experience – booking a place in at least the the Bronze medal ride with 4:08.176. New Zealand were next up and Wes Gough, Cameron Karwowski, Peter Latham and Myron ‘Marge’ Simpson bettered the British quartet to go top.
The progress made by former Danish and Great Britain coach Heiko Salzwedel’s Russian Team Pursuit squad continues apace with Evgeny Kovalev, Ivan Kovalev, Alexey Markov and Alexander Serov – pretty much the first choice line up – just failing to break the four minute barrier in qualifying – clocked 4:00.488 to move in to the Final.
Last up were Australia. Glenn O’Shea, Alexander Edmondson, Michael Freiberg and Mitchell Mulhern knew they only needed to better the Kiwi’s 4:04.427 to contest the Gold Medal with RusVelo – and did what they had to do, slotting in half way between the Russian Squad and New Zealand with a 4:02.585.
1 RusVelo (Evgeny KOVALEV, Ivan KOVALEV, Alexey MARKOV, Alexander SEROV) 4:00.488
2 Australia (Glenn O’SHEA, Alexander EDMONDSON, Michael FREIBERG, Mitchell MULHERN) 4:02.585
3 New Zealand (Wes GOUGH, Cameron Joseph KARWOWSKI, Peter LATHAM, Myron SIMPSON) 4:04.247
4 Great Britain (Mark CHRISTIAN, Samuel HARRISON, Joseph KELLY, Simon YATES) 4:08.176
5 Korea 4:09.091
6 Ukraine 4:09.374
7 Germany 4:09.512
8 Netherlands 4:09.554
9 LOKOSPHINX 4:10.605
10 Belgium 4:10.642
11 SUI Switzerland 4:11.089
12 China 4:11.661
13 United States 4:15.374
14 Hong Kong 4:18.867
15 Italy 4:20.123
16 Kazakhstan 4:21.010
17 Chinese Taipei 4:29.539
Women’s Team Pursuit
No Great Britain. No USA. No Australia. The Finals were definitely going to have an unfamiliar look to them. After the first ten heats, Belarus lead with a 3:24.857 ahead of the Ukraine on 3:25.672. Into the final four and Chinese tri of Fen Jiang, Wenwen Jiang and Jing Liang couldn’t match the pace of the top two, slotting in to third with a 3:26.221. More surprisingly, the Netherlands could only manage 3:34.749 to go 9th with only Hong Kong, Japan and Chinese Taipei below them.
Germany couldn’t do much more, going just 2 seconds quicker, taking over 9th place from the Dutch and guaranteeing Tatsiana Sharakova, Aksana Papko and Alen Dylko of Belarus a place in the Final – where they’d surely face the New Zealand squad of Kaytee Boyd, Rushlee Buchanan and Gemma Dudley. But, in a session full of upsets, the Kiwiss could only manage a 3:27.357 to book a Bronze medal ride-off with China.
So tomorrow’s final will see the Belarussian trio will face Svitlana Galyuk, Elizaveta Bochkareva and Lyubov Shulika of the Ukraine.
1 Belarus (Tatsiana SHARAKOVA, Aksana PAPKO, Alena DYLKO) 3:24.857
2 Ukraine (Svitlana GALYUK, Eilezaveta BOCHKAREVA, Lyubov SHULIKA) 3:25.672
3 China (Fen JIANG, Wenwen JIANG, Jing LIANG) 3:26.221
4 New Zealand 3:27.357 (Kaytee BOYD, Rushlee BUCHANAN, Gemma DUDLEY)
5 Lithuania 3:28.168
6 RusVelo 3:29.425
7 Giant Pro Cycling 3:29.469
8 Poland 3:31.000
9 Belgium 3:31.210
10 Germany 3:32.979
11 Netherlands 3:34.749
12 Hong Kong 3:36.985
13 Japan 3:37.517
14 Chinese Taipei 3:43.171