Sir Chris Hoy conceded the Sprint competition to team mate and newly crowned World Champion Jason Kenny – having earlier set the fastest time in qualification – but dominated the keirin final. The two men then joined Matt Crampton to take a comfortable win in the Team Sprint. trackcycling was there to bring you all the action and times from the Sprint competition…
Sir Chris Hoy set the fasest time in the afternoon qualifying session for this evening’s Sprint competition at Revolution 36 with a time of 10.099 seconds with Matt Crampton second and Pete Mitchell third. In the preliminary round of three-up Match Sprints it was advantage Great Britain with Hoy, Crampton, Mitchell and newly crowned World Champion Jason Kenny progressing to this evening’s Semi Finals leaving only the Team Sprint for the three French visitors Quentin Lafargue, Mikael Bourgain and Michael D’Alemida.
1 Chris HOY Sky Pro Track Cycling 10.099
2 Matt CRAMPTON Sky Pro Track Cycling 10.125
3 Pete MITCHELL V-Sprint 10.230
4 Jason KENNY Sky Pro Track Cycling 10.238
5 David DANIELL V-Sprint 10.253
6 Michael D’ALMEIDA France 10.317
7 Mikael BOURGAIN France 10.351
8 Kian EMADI Great Britain 10.357
9 Louis OLIVA Great Britain 10.377
10 Quentin LAFARGUE France 10.445
11 Philip HINDES Great Britain 10.567
12 John PAUL Great Britain 10.569
The three-up first round matches saw the fastest four qualifiers – the three Sky Pro Track Cycling riders – Hoy, Kenny and Crampton along with V-Sprint’s Mitchell – progress to the semi-finals in the evening’s Revolution meeting. The other eight riders still had a Keirin, Team Sprint and a slightly odd Sprint Handicap race to look forward to.
In the first of the sudden-death Semi Finals, Kenny got the jump on Hoy and held him off to book his place in the Final with Mitchell leading out Crampton who turned the tables through turns 3 and 4 to join Kenny in the best-of-three final.
Before the Sprint Final we had the Keirin and, first, the slightly bizarre 6-lap Sprint Losers Handicap. With riders spread around the track based on their qualifying times, the start, predictably, saw them all come together to roll round for four and a half laps. The action kicked off just before the bell with Mikael Bourgain heading home Dave Daniell and Louis Oliva.
The first Keirin saw the three V-Sprint riders – Daniell, Mitchell and Hindes – line up against the three GB Academy riders – Paul, Emadi and Oliva. It was Emadi who tucked in behind the motor with Oliva behind him, followed by Mitchell and Hindes with Daniell just ahead of Paul. When the Derny pulled off it was Emadi that led the charge from Oliva and Mitchell but with Daniell moving rapidly through the back end of the field. Paul came round Daniel on the run-in to the bell – running down the home straight in line abreast with team mates Oliva and Emadi – with Mitchell now at the head of the race. On the final lap, though, it was Daniell that came through to take the win with Mitchell hanging on to second ahead of Oliva.
The crowd’s obvious disappointment when Hoy failed to make the Sprint Final was eased somewhat in the Sky Pro Track Cycling versus France Keirin. It was Kenny who tucked in behind the Derny ahead of the three Frenchmen with Hoy sat patiently on the back. D’Almeida took up the race as the Derny pulled off but there was only ever going to be one winner as Hoy surged through from the back to tuck in behind the Frenchman at the bell before surging past him to take the win with Kenny and Crampton moving through the blue jerseys to secure second and third places.
Quite a change from his early days in the Keirin where he’d sit behind the Derny, leave a big gap and then ‘kilo’ away from the rest of the field. As he said afterwards “I’ve been doing that the last eighteen months or so. When I can I will ride from the front but I’m trying to win from all positions – from the very back, from the middle and the front – so that I’m prepared for when it comes to the Olympics, when you never know what is going to happen because you can’t control the Keirin in the way you can control the Sprint. You have to be ready for the unexpected and in doing rides from different positions it gives you that experience.”
But he added, ominously “I’ve become more proficient at winning from the middle and the back but I still like winning from the front because you’re in control.”
Kenny may have taken Hoy by surprise in the Semi Final but it was sheer power that won him the Final – surging away from Crampton in the first match to go one up before riding round the outside of his team mate through turn four to take the competition. If he can carry this form through the World Cup in London and on to the World Championships the selection decision for the single Olympic Sprint spot will be a very easy one.
Not that Hoy’s given up yet. Reflecting on the Semi Final afterwards he told reporters “It was another error and I’m trying to make less and less errors. If you’re going to make them, better here than at a major competition. I’m very pleased with my time trial though. To go ten point zero when it wasn’t that fast – with higher pressure and cold temperatures… And then to win the Keirin as well.”
So is focused on riding all three events in London? “Yes. Well, at the World Championships, at least. It’s not about choosing to do all three – it’s about earning your spot. So I’ll race the best I can at the World Championships and if I earn the right to do all three, then I’ll be delighted and I’ll race them at the Olympics. But there’s no sure thing.”
The final sprint event of the season was the Team Sprint with Great Britain taking on V-Sprint and Sky Pro Track Cycling taking on the French trio. The more experienced V-Sprint trio took the first heat with a creditable 45.440 seconds – second fastest time of the night – and it was Jason Kenny, Matt Crampton and Sir Chris Hoy who – despite a slight wobble when Crampton repeated his party trick of breaking his saddle – took the win with a 44.230 from Michael D’Almeida, Mikael Bourgain and Quenting Lafargue who clocked 46.624.
Hoy was clear, though, that there’s a lot to do to get back in the running for the event at the Olympics. “We’re off the pace in that the Germans have broken the World Record, which makes them the strong favourites right now. But what you can do is look back to 2008. I said to Philip Hindes – a potential man one who can be down on himself if he is not progressing the way he wants to – you have to look at Jamie Staff’s time in the Bejing World Cup eight months before the Olympics. He did a 17.8 and then did a 17.1 at the Olympics. So things can turn around quickly especially when you are young where you can make big steps like Jason Kenny did. Hopefully we’ll have good form at the Worlds, but after that is when the team will be selected and you can feel secure in your position.”
“We’ll know what we’re doing and what our role will be and that is when we tend to make the biggest improvements. Prior to Beijing Jason Kenny only just pipped Jason Queally and Craig MacLean in man two and then his progression was like… in Newport, he seemed to be making these amazing improvements day by day – and then at the Olympics he was setting the fastest time in the World for the second lap in the Team Sprint.”