Day four of the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships gave us the highlight of the week – an epic Points race starring Great Britain’s Ben Swift and local hero Cameron Meyer (with a strong supporting cast including Spain’s Unai Elorriaga, Belgiums’s Kenny de Ketele and New Zealand’s Aaron Gate). And is if that wasn’t enough, we had the conclusion of the Women’s Omnium with Britain’s Laura Trott and Australia’s Annette Edmondson neck and neck going in to the second day, Anne Meares looking to atone for her disappointment in the Sprint competition in the Keirin, a tour de force from the Aussies in the Individual Pursuit – oh, and the Men’s Sprint Final with the awesome Gregory Bauge and the crowd’s favourite – even here – Sir Chris Hoy. 

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Men’s Sprint

France’s Grégory Baugé looked menacing as he disposed of Aussie Shane Perkins with consumate ease. The other Semi was a much closer affair between Great Britain duo Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy. Millimetres separated them in the first heat with Kenny just getting the nod. The crowd and most of the press contingent assumed the tie would be taken to three, but Keeny won the second more comfortably to set up a re-match with Baugé.

In many ways, it was the perfect outcome. When Kenny was presented with the World Champions jersey prior to the London World Cup he looked faintly embarassed = partly because nobody wants to win a title that way and partly, we suspect, because he knew that Baugé had comprehensivley beaten him. Now he had his opportunity to take the jersey on the track. Baugé, too, had a point to prove feeling – with some justification – that he’d been, at least in part, the victim of French Federation bureacratic incompetence and amateur politicking.  

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Semi Finals
BAUGE Gregory FRA **

PERKINS Shane AUS

KENNY Jason GBR **
HOY Chris GBR

Finals

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Perkins’ Bronze medal ride went much the same way as his Semi Final, although this time it was Hiy that he watched motoring off into the distance. The Gold ride was another opportunity for controversy. The first match started cagily, but Baugé used his strength and power to brush Kenny aside and win at a canter. In the second, Kenny jumped him and went for a long one, pulling out a 50m lead at one point. It was worth a try, but Baugé used his power to close the gap and was on the rider from Bolton by the end of the back straight. Whatever happened between turn 3 and 4, it was obvious without a replay that the pair had come very close and it was Kenny who powered across the line first and, initially, Kenny that was given the win.

10 minutes later – as in the Women’s competition –  Baugé found out he was World Champion in his team box in the track centre. Between Kenny crossing the line and Baugé taking the win the video was reviewed countless times with French sprint coach Florian Rousseau arguing that Kenny had flicked up out of the ‘sprinter’s lane’ – which, indeed he had – and GB coach Jan van Eiden countering that he’d flicked up because Baugé had come down on him. While it wasn’t cut and dry, it did seem that van Eiden had a case. The commissaires went with Rosseau and relegated Hoy but the real drama came when the news was broken to Baugé, who was livid. It was clear that he wanted the chance to win on the track – and there can be few that doubt that he would have done – but he was denied it. He was still seething on the podium – the unhappiest Gold medal winner we’ve ever seen.

GOLD 1 163 BAUGE Gregory FRA **
SILVER 2 180 KENNY Jason GBR REL

BRONZE 3 178 HOY Chris GBR **
4 111 PERKINS Shane AUS

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