Great Britain’s Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy both picked up medals in the men’s sprint at the UCI Track World Championships in Apledoorn this evening, but neither was the colour they most coveted as France’s Gregory Bauge powered his way to gold. The event was just one of the highlights of an exciting evening in the Dutch town.
Both Great Britain and France had qualified two men for the semi-finals, and it was the luck of the draw that the countries were kept apart, Kenny putting in a terrific performance to beat his friend and room mate Hoy 2-0.
Bauge, had beaten Mickaël Bourgain in his semi-final, both in slower times than those posted by Kenny in overcoming Hoy, but come the final the Frenchman proved too strong for the proved too powerful for the Bolton-born Briton, who turned 23 two days ago.
Hoy lost the first race in the run-off for bronze, and just manage to snatch the second from Bourgain, only edging ahead on the line after trailing on the outside going into the final bend.
The Scot’s victory in the third and deciding race, again coming round the outside, was more emphatic, Hoy having time to look across at the Frenchman as they approached the line and punching the air in victory as they crossed it.
With each country only allowed to qualify one rider for the individual events at London 2012, defending Olympic champion Hoy can be in little doubt that he now faces a real battle with Kenny if he is to defend his title in the velodrome in Stratford.
In the other men’s event to be decided tonight, Cameron Meyer of Australia surrendered his points race crown, Avila Edwin of Colombia earning a standing ovation in the velodrome following his surprise win.
The 21-year-old gained a lap early on and continued to contest sprints to build up an unassailable lead in what proved to be a popular, if unexpected win. Meyer came second, while Morgan Kneisky of France was third.
Britain’s Sam Harrison, who picked up bronze in the team pursuit on Wednesday after being drafted in to replace Ed Clancy in the men’s team pursuit quartet in what is turning out to be an unexpectedly busy week, currently lies 12th in the Omnium after the first day of competition, with Bryan Coquard of France leading.
Only one women’s event was decided tonight, in the individual pursuit. Just two and a half years ago in Beijing, Rebecca Romero and Wendy Houvenaghel had contested the final. With the event off the London 2012 programme, however, and Laura Trott switched to the omnium, there was no British representation.
The final saw Sarah Hammer of the United States, frustrated after being beaten to gold yesterday in the team event by the British trio of Trott, Houvenaghel and Dani King, impose herself on New Zealand’s Alison Shanks to win gold.
Lithuania picked up their first medal of the championships, Vilija Sereikaitė beating another New Zealander, Jaime Nielsen, in the run-off.
Victoria Pendleton has progressed to the semi-finals of the women’s sprint, where her opponent tomorrow will be Australia’s Anna Meares.
The pair faced each other in yesterday’s team sprint final, in which Meares, partnered by Kaarle McCulloch, put in a powerful performance to help beat Pendleton and Jess Varnish. The Australian posted the fastest time today while beating Germany’s Kristina Vogel in the quarter-final.
Simona Krupeckaitė of Lithuania and the dangerous Olga Panarina of Belarus, who took gold in Wednesday’s 500m time trial, make up the other semi-final pairing, while Great Britain’s Becky James and Jess Varnish went out at the repechage stage.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.