Olympic Track Day 5: Jason Kenny sees off Grégory Baugé to take individual sprint gold, Laura Trott leads omnium after day one

Fifth gold medal for Team GB in the Olympic Velodrome, Trott wins two of first three events in the omnium

by Simon_MacMichael   August 6, 2012  

Olympic Rings and Velodrome

Jason Kenny, beaten by Sir Chris Hoy in the final of the men's individual sprint at Beijing four years ago, has this evening succeeded the Scot as Olympic champion in the event, convincingly beating world champion Grégory Baugé 2-0 in the final. It's the third gold medal of Kenny's Olympic career, having been part of the victorious British team sprint squad in 2008 and again here in London. There are now three more events to be decided in the velodrome at London and Great Britain has the reigning world champion in all of them - Laura Trott who is overnight leader in the omnium, Sir Chris Hoy, who defends his keirin title tomorrow, and Victoria Pendleton, through to the semi final of the women's individual sprint, the event she won gold in at Beijing. ;

Men's Individual Sprint

Kenny and Baugé both qualified for the final by beating their respective semi-final opponents 2-0 this afternoon, the Briton defeating Njisane Nicholas Phillip of Trinidad and Tobago to go through. Kenny led out the first race and launched his sprint a lap and a half out, remaining around a bike length ahead of his opponent all the way to the line.

The roles were reversed in the second race, but again once Kenny came round the Trinidadian rider Phillips, who took some big scalps to get this far, had no response. Baugé, meanwhile, was untroubled by Australia's Shane Perkins to reach the gold medal race. Perkins would go on to defeat Phillip 2-0 to take bronze.

Baugé has won this event in each of the four world championships since Beijing, beating Kenny in the last two of those, although the British rider was eventually awarded the 2011 title after the Frenchman was stripped of his title after being suspended for whereabouts violations.

In the first race of the final, Baugé was drawn on the inside and led off, the two riders eyeing each other cautiously as they slowed nearly to a halt in the opening lap.

On the second of the three laps, Kenny repeatedly feinted to try and force his opponent to open up the sprint, and ahead of the bell, Baugé finally went, opening up a lead of several bike lengths. Kenny was alert to the danger, however, and reeled the Frenchman in before coming round on the outside of the final bend to pass Baugé in the home straight and hold him off to go one up.

The second race saw Kenny start on the inside, looking over his shoulder ready to counter any potential move from Baugé. With a lap and a half still to ride, the Frenchman went high on the banking, Kenny increasing his pace to forestall any challenge before kicking hard off the penultimate bend.

Baugé tried desperately to get on Kenny's wheel to put himself in a position to challenge him in the home straight but roared on by the crowd, the British rider held on to clinch the third Olympic gold medal of his career.

When he beat Kenny to win that Beijing gold four years ago, Hoy predicted that his team mate, now aged 24, would be the Olympic champion in London. No-one knew then that changes to the Olympic programme would result in only one rider per country being allowed to ride the individual events on the track in these Games, but the decision to choose Kenny over Hoy has been fully vindicated.

Reminded of that prediction by Hoy after clinching gold this evening, Kenny expressed the hope that his team sprint colleague might now let him into the winning lottery numbers.

"It dawned on me that if Chris had been in my shoes there was no way he would have lost. It is a shame that we could not have two of us in here," reflected Kenny.

"He has that real killer instinct which is why he has so many medals. And my final ride was not that amazing if I am honest," he said modestly, adding, "I just let the crowd carry me home."

Kenny and Baugé both qualified for the final by beating their respective semi-final opponents 2-0 this afternoon, the Briton defeating Njisane Nicholas Phillip of Trinidad and Tobago to go through. Kenny led out the first race and launched his sprint a lap and a half out, remaining around a bike length ahead of his opponent all the way to the line.

The roles were reversed in the second race, but again once Kenny came round the Trinidadian rider Phillips, who took some big scalps to get this far, had no response. Baugé, meanwhile, was untroubled by Australia's Shane Perkins to reach the gold medal race. Perkins would go on to defeat Phillip 2-0 to take bronze.

Woman's omnium

With victories in two of the first three events, the flying lap and a thrilling elimination race, Laura Trott, who comes from Cheshunt, a few miles up the River Lea from the Olympic Park, leads the omnium at the halfway point. The 20-year-old is level on 12 points with the USA’s Sarah Hammer, but those two wins put the British rider ahead on countback.

Perhaps Trott’s weakest discipline, the points race, was sandwiched today by the two that she won. Although she lost a lap to some of her principal rivals for gold, and was heavily marked throughout meaning she had no chance to get away herself, she did pick up enough points herself at intermediate sprints and by leading the field across the line at the end of the race to limit her losses by finishing tenth.

The race itself was won by Poland’s Malgorzata Wojtyra, ahead of Tatsiana Sharakova of Belarus, with Canada’s Tara Whitten, world champion in 2010 and 2011, third. Hammer, second in the world’s in 2011 and third this year, finished fifth, with the top nine places filled by riders who had managed to gain that vital lap.

Trott, however, was the best of the rest, and moreover finished one place ahead of the woman who was runner-up to her in April’s world championships in Melbourne, Australia’s Annette Edmondson.

Earlier, the British woman, who took gold in the team pursuit alongside Dani King and Joanna Rowsell on Saturday, had taken first place in the opening discipline of the omnium, the flying lap, completing the 250 metre circuit in 14.057 seconds, one thousandth of a second ahead of Clara Sanchez of France, with Edmondson third, Hammer fifth quickest and Whitten posting the seventh fastest time.

The final event of the evening was the elimination race, which has become Trott’s pièce de resisitance. On this track in February’s World Cup meeting, and again at Melbourne in April on her way to winning the rainbow jersey, she had proved her expertise in being able to judge her burst to the line perfectly to avoid being the last wheel whenever she looked in danger of being eliminated, before going on to win the sprint for first place.

Tonight followed the same script, and while the omnium may have its critics, the elimination race again proved to be once again an absolute crowd-pleaser as Trott stormed to victory. The last three riders left in the race now occupy the top three positions, with Hammer lying second and Edmondson third, although she is five points behind the leading pair. A point further back is Whitten, whose hopes of gold were dealt a blow when she was the eighth from last rider to be eliminated.

Whitten, Hammer, Trott and Edmondson – in that order – posted the fastest four times in April’s world championships in the 3km individual pursuit, the event that kicks off day two tomorrow. Less than two and a half seconds separated them in Melbourne, so if tomorrow follows the same pattern, there will be little opportunity for any of those women to pick up significant points on their rivals.

In April, the final event, the 500m time trial, was nearly as closely fought, Trott winning from Edmondson with Hammer fourth and Whitten sixth. The pivotal discipline tomorrow, therefore, could well be the points race, where in Melbourne Hammer, in ninth place, finished best of the four women likely to fight it out for the medals here in London.

It can’t be discounted, of course, that someone further down the standings could make up a lot of points there, but other than Belgium’s Jolien D’Hoore, lying fifth on 20 points, there is only one rider within a dozen points of the leaders, that being Poland’s Wojtyra, who has 24. Neither of those two women are strong enough in the other disciplines yet to be raced to pose a serious challenge, however.

Women's individual sprint

Defending champion Victoria Pendleton heads into the final day of a glittering career with Germany's Kristina Vogele standing between her and a chance to race for her third Olympic gold medal, and second of London 2012, against either Anna Meares of Australia or China's Guo Shuang, who on Friday took keirin silver between the British rider. Pendleton beat Olga Panarina of Belarus 2-0 today to progress to the semi final.

 

7 user comments

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Am I the only person who feels slightly uneasy about this complete dominance in the velodrome?

posted by Wig_Billy [575 posts]
6th August 2012 - 19:42

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Yes you are! - rock on clean cycling Big Grin

Sudor

posted by Sudor [180 posts]
6th August 2012 - 19:45

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Sudor wrote:
Yes you are! - rock on clean cycling Big Grin

Yeah, the ones who deliberately miss out taking out of competition tests are the ones you should be uneasy about.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [950 posts]
6th August 2012 - 20:56

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Wig_Billy wrote:
Am I the only person who feels slightly uneasy about this complete dominance in the velodrome?

I think there's a few like-minded people in France Wink

Seriously, though, I think it's the culmination of more than a decade's investment in the sport backed by a world-leading track set-up and talent-spotting network.

I think the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity London gives GB cyclists can't be underestimated either - plus for some, it's the last Olympics they'll ride.

At the track worlds 15 months ago when GB got one gold medal, Dave Brailsford pointed out we were getting medals in most Olympic events, and the aim wasn't to do well at world championships but in London where it counted.

Compare with Australia - dominant at Apeldoorn, less so in Melbourne in April (5-4 to GB in the Olympic events), and well below what they should be doing in London, looks like they peaked way too early.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [8034 posts]
6th August 2012 - 20:57

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Ultimately, I think Dave Brailsford has brought a professional mindset/culture within BC to what is in many ways still a rather amateur-minded sport. Things like taking riders own mattresses to hotels. I read an interview where one of the staff explained that most of the time, the riders fly economy, but before a big event, they fly business class to ensure fresh legs. Clearly, these perhaps aren't great examples in the case of home games, but my point stands.

A good example of this slightly amateur approach, away from British Cycling, is those spaceman orange helmets used in the TT. They flare widely at the back in order to direct airflow over the rider more efficiently, on the basis that simply having an aero helmet is missing the point; you're aiming for an aero combination of man and machine. Well, duh! Sounds rather obvious really, and slightly odd that it's taken this long for someone to come up with such an innovation. You can bet that if this was F1 (where a thoroughly pro mindset has been pervasive for years), they'd have cracked that one some time ago. (Yes, the results of these lids have so far been mixed, but my point is that such questions/uncertainty would have been answered before now if that pro, marginal gains, mindset was pervasive)

Even the French say as much:
"We are asking a lot of questions: how have they gained so many tenths of seconds? Have they found a new training process based on certain energy pathways? I am not talking about any illicit product, because anti-doping tests are so strong," a perplexed Gautheron told L'Equipe.

Taken from:
http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/londonspy/team-gb-success-leaves-fre...

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3108 posts]
7th August 2012 - 9:41

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:

I think there's a few like-minded people in France Wink

Just a few! The comments on pretty much any of the track reports on L'Equipe or Cyclism'Actu seem to be grasping at any possible illegal explanation, between special wheels and EPO!

They seem to have forgotten M. Baugé's ban for missing his doping tests mind... Thinking

At least Cyrille Guimard's standing up for us...
http://www.cyclismactu.net/news-jo-2012-cyrille-guimard-pas-etonne-par-l...

posted by chris75018 [95 posts]
7th August 2012 - 11:56

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chris75018 wrote:

They seem to have forgotten M. Baugé's ban for missing his doping tests mind... Thinking

At least Cyrille Guimard's standing up for us...
http://www.cyclismactu.net/news-jo-2012-cyrille-guimard-pas-etonne-par-les-britanniques-26633.html

Ha, thanks for posting - the comments on that story are hilarious!

story comments wrote:

"it is impossible to fight against guys who have F1 as a bike "

Er, ever heard of the secret squirrel club?

story comments wrote:

"I hope Bauge is strong enough to overcome all that, but I confess I am a bit seized by doubt."

Hey, you just broke the ironometer!

story comments wrote:

"uci c is the UK then what good English are far from the Olympic spirit LET'S JUST BE PROUD OF OUR FRENCH ENJOY THE GAMES HAVE INVENTED THE TRACK"

Riiiight.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3108 posts]
7th August 2012 - 13:42

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