Chris Hoy can normally be depended on to win a Keirin race and tonight's World Championship bout was no exception, with the Scot putting in an awesome display to win on the track where a Keirin crash cost him almost a season of competitive riding, and snag Team GB's first rainbow jersey. After the disappointment of the team sprint all eyes were on Hoy's solo efforts tonight, which started badly in the heats after he was brought down by Josiah Ng (ML) just after the gun. The Malaysian was disqualified and Hoy went on to progress easily.
In the second round Hoy went off the front early and looked untroubled as he moved through to the final with Awang of Malaysia on his heels. Matt Crampton didn't make it through to the final after a poor heat but put in an impressive display in the minor final, taking the line for a seventh place finish. The final itself went to a restart with Malaysian rider Awang unable to take a place in the line, ending up off the track.
Hoy, with the inside draw, lined up second from the restart behind the German Maximilian Levy and left a gap to the leader with three laps to go with. The French rider Francois Pervis managed to steal a march on Hoy to relegate the Scot to third on the track but he showed the best of his form to ride round both of the front runners on the penultimate lap to take the lead position at the bell. Hoy's not an easy guy to go round and he managed to hold the front for gold depsite a massive late effort from Awang which brought him to within half a wheel at the line. Levy ran in third.
"it's been a difficult year", said Hoy afterwards, "and to come out tonight against a very competitive field and win just feels amazing. It was a hard fought win as well. There was a few guys in there who are really strong kilometre riders like Pervis and Mulder, if i tried to the two and a half laps full gas there was a chance they'd stick behind me and come past. I wanted to make sure I was at the front but not for the full two and a half."
"Whilst it wasn't in my mind, to come back to this arena where I had a nasty crash – in the Keirin final as well – and make amends is very special indeed"
In the women's team pursuit Team GB's trio of Wendy Houvenhagel, Joanna Rowsell and Lizzie Armitstead made it to the final for a showdown with Ashlee Ankudinoff, Josephine Tomic and Sarah Kent of Australia. The British girls showed good pace put their form was a little ragged compared to the more composed Australians and it was their time of 3:21.748 that won the gold, their fourth of the championships. Team GB finished a half second down. New Zealand saved their best for the bronze medal ride, setting a new World Record of 3:21.552 and taking the mark from the British team.
"This is probably a good lesson for us to learn", said Houvenhagel after the ride. "It gives us another couple of years to get things together and work on a few weak areas. Clearly there are some and we'll have to get them straightened out."
"Maybe it's a blessing in disguise", added Rowsell. "Now it's an Olympic event the other countries have stepped it up a notch, we have to do that for next year"
Team GB's women's sprint pair of Jessica Varnish and Victoria Pendleton were edged out in the bronze medal race and finished just out of the medals. With Shanaze Reade away on BMX duty it was always going to be tough for Varnish in only her second team sprint with Pendleton and so it proved on the night with Gintare Gaivenyte and Simona Krupeckaite proving too strong. In the gold medal match up the Australian pair of Kaarle McCulloch and Anna Meares had to work hard to overcome a strong challenge from Jinjie Gong and Junhong Lin of China. The Oz riders were up for the challenge though and set a new World Record of 32.923 on their way to the gold, beating the mark they'd set in the heats.
In the Men's individual pursuit it was all about Taylor Phinney (USA) who looked imperious as he powered to gold, taking nearly two seconds out of Jesse Sergent (NZL) in the gold/silver ride, with Jack Bobridge (AUS) finishing off the podium. In the Scratch race there was no medal for Chris Newton, who finished fifth with Alex Rasmussen (DEN) taking the spoils ahead of Arango Carvajal (COL) and Mori (JPN)
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.