Day two of the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships saw another epic Great Britain and Australia battle in Team Pursuit qualification – this time for the Women – with Australia breaking the World Record set in London in February only for Great Britain to break it again.
And the Final was another very close affair with Australia well inside Great Britain’s World Record pace from the afternoon session, but a second adrift in the final… Add in the now obligatory controversy in the Men’s Omnium, a dramatic end to the Women’s Points Race, four World Records including one in the Women’s Sprint qualifying and it was another superb day of action at the Hisense Arena.
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Local hero Anna Meares confirmed she was on top form – not only heading the time sheets in the 200m Sprint Qualifying session, but setting a new World Record of 10.782 seconds. Her great rival and five times World Champion Victoria Pendleton could only manage fifth with an 11.076 – but 2nd to 10th were separated by a tenth of a second.
Shuang Guo of China and World Team Sprint Champion Miriam Welte of Germany were second and third with Jess Varnish a very creditable 8th – less than two hundredths off Pendelton’s time on 11.090.
1 MEARES Anna AUS 10.782 WR
2 GUO Shuang CHN 11.004
3 WELTE Miriam GER 11.033
4 LEE Wai Sze HKG 11.067
5 PENDLETON Victoria GBR 11.076
6 VOGEL Kristina GER 11.078
7 KRUPECKAITE Simona LTU 11.079
8 VARNISH Jessica GBR 11.090
9 SULLIVAN Monique CAN 11.101
10 MCCULLOCH Kaarle AUS 11.105
11 SHULIKA Lyubov UKR 11.131
12 GUERRA RODRIGUEZ Lisandra CUB 11.150
13 HANSEN Natasha NZL 11.166
14 BARANOVA Viktoria RUS 11.170
15 CLAIR Sandie FRA11.186
16 LEE Hyejin KOR 11.228
17 JUNHONG Lin CHN 11.244
18 ZHONG Tianshi CHN 11.252
19 LARREAL CHIRINOS Daniela Grelui VEN 11.267
20 HIJGENAAR Yvonne NED 11.302
21 CUEFF Virginie FRA 11.386
22 MAEDA Kayono JPN 11.402
23 GNIDENKO Ekaterina RUS 11.458
24 GAVIRIA Juliana COL 11.469
As the Sprint competition proper got under way Anna Meares cruised past 24th fastest qualifier Juliana Gavira of Columbia while Pendleton had to work a little harder to hold off Yvonne Hijgenaar. As intended, the draw favoured the top half of the draw with a few notable exceptions – fourth fastest Wai Sze Lee of Hong Kong lost out to Virginie Cueff, who’d only qualified 21st and Varnish lost out to Lin Juhong of Chine who qualified nine places below her.
Juhong only lasted as far as the next round where Varnish’s team mate Pendleton took a narrow win over the Chinese rider. Juhong’s compatriot Guo also lost – to Lyubov Shulika of the Ukraine and had to make her way to the Quarter Finals via the Repechages. Former 500m World Champion Lisandra Guerra of Cuba also made it through from the second chance saloon, having come up aganist Meares first time around.
All four Quarter Finals were decided in two races with Meares despatching Guo – who consoled herself with a comfortable win in the Minor Final. Shulika looked confident beating Guerra and Simona Krupeckaite of Lithuania confirmed the return to form we’d seen in London with an easy win over Welte. Pendleton’s confidence was building, too, and she disposed of Cueff with plenty to spare – tweeting afterwards that she’d just realised she’d been in the Semi-Finals at every Worlds for the last 10 years. Quite an achievement. The big question is whether she can get any further – her poor qualifying position meaning that she’ll face Meares in the Semis with Krupeckaite and Shulika chasing the other berth in the Final.
The crowd – and the Australian media – were relishing another Ashes final. They won’t get it – but will they get an Australian riding for Gold?
MEARES Anna AUS **
GUO Shuang CHN
SHULIKA Lyubov UKR **
GUERRA RODRIGUEZ Lisandra CUB
KRUPECKAITE Simona LTU **
WELTE Miriam GER
PENDLETON Victoria GBR **
CUEFF Virginie FRA
5 GUO Shuang CHN 11.925 60.377
6 WELTE Miriam GER
7 CUEFF Virgi
8 GUERRA RODRIGUEZ Lisandra CUB
Semi Final Draw
MEARES Anna AUS vs PENDLETON Victoria GBR
KRUPECKAITE Simona LTU vs SHULIKA Lyubov UKR