Pendleton wins sixth sprint gold medal Sprints full of drama on day three

Pendleton wins sixth sprint gold, A disqualification has handed Great Britain’s Victoria Pendleton the gold medal in the women’s individual sprint in the drama filled night at the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships. Pendleton had the better of Lithuania’s Simona Krupeckaite in the first race and after going down in the second, commissaires awarded the victory to the Brit after Krupeckaite was deemed to have moved off her line. The victory makes Pendleton the equal most successful female track cyclist at a world championship alongside Galina Zareva (Soviet Union) with six gold medals in the event.

Earlier in the evening, the first semi-final played out like a perfectly scripted blockbuster. Off the back of the much hyped rivalry in the lead up to the championships, Pendleton met Australia’s Anna Meares in what was always going to be a must see affair. It had a fall, a disqualification and a finish too close for the eye to pick. But in the end it was Pendleton who progressed, and home town favourite Meares having to settle for the bronze medal.

The men’s individual sprint was just as tense with four-time Olympic and ten-time world champion Sir Chris Hoy battling the hard way to make it through to the semi-finals. Australia’s Shane Perkins went down over three matches in his quarter-final match up with France’s Mickael Bourgain, before he was also advanced to the semi-finals after the disqualification of Bourgain in the third and final match.

Hoy will meet his British compatriot Jason Kenny tomorrow night where more than a chance in the gold medal ride is up for grab. The pair are still battling for selection as Great Britain’s single rider in the event at the London Olympics.

Perkins will meet France’s Gregory Bauge in the other semi final. Australia’s Glenn O’Shea finished with a strong kilometre time trial to win the rainbow jersey in the men’s omnium. Leading the event after the first day of competition, O’Shea dropped to second behind Canada’s Zach Bell with one event left to ride, but a 1:03.042 in the kilo, the second quickest time of the night, was enough to win him gold. Poland’s Katarzyna Pawlowska took out the women’s 15km scratch ahead of Australia’s Melissa Hoskins in a race that was full of attacks, most initiated by Czech Jarmila Machacova.

After three of the six events – the flying lap, points race and elimination – Australia’s Annette Edmondson and Great Britain’s Laura Trott lead the women’s omnium on 11points. The action continues tomorrow with the men’s individual pursuit, points race and sprint finals, as well as the women’s keirin and final omnium rounds.

A full summary of each event follows:

Women’s individual sprint:

Victoria Pendleton has become the joint most successful female track sprinter after the British rider won her sixth women’s individual sprint crown. Pendleton, the reigning Olympic champion, joins Soviet cyclist Galina Zareva as equal top winner of the women’s sprint title. Pendleton’s previous titles were in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The 31-year-old defeated Simona Krupeckaite two-zero in the final at Hisense Arena, with the Lithuania relegated in the second heat for not holding her line in the finish straight.

“It’s not the way I want to win,” Pendleton said.

Her path to the final included an epic semi-final against defending champion Anna Meares of Australia 2-1. In the first heat, Pendleton led with two bike lengths at the bell lap. The Australian was on her rival’s wheel along the back strait to where Meares drew alongside Pendleton after the final turn. The British rider then came out of the sprinter’s lane, nudged Meares, over-corrected and lost her balance to crash 100 metres short of the finishing line.

Pendleton suffered track burn to her shoulder, elbow and hip from her fall, while the commissaires relegated her and gave the British champion a warning for not holding her line in the finish strait. Meares crossed the line first in the second heat but received the same warning and was relegated for not holding her line.

The Australian took the lead in the third heat but Pendleton passed Meares to edge ahead at the finish. Pendleton approached Meares in the infield and hugged her rival following the semi-final. The British rider said she did not expect to be competing for gold on Friday. “When I raced Anna Mears in the semi, I thought I’d be riding for the bronze medal,” Pendleton said.

“She’s such a fantastic opponent, there’s been a lot of chat in the media… and she was so strong last year and in London I honestly thought she had the upper hand so to make it through that far I thought it was a really amazing achievement.”

Krupeckaite defeated Ukrainian Lyubov Shulika two-nil in the other semi-final. The Lithuanian said she felt her form gave her the confidence to have won gold. “I thought I could win today,” Krupeckaite said. “The judges were not fair, I think.” She said the final was a good lesson for her ahead of London. “I will do everything to be stronger.”

Meares won her bronze medal ride-off 2-0 against Shulika.

It was the Australian’s third bronze medal in the individual sprint following third placings in 2005 and 2007. Meares said she could not let the disappointment in losing the semi-final distract her from the main goal, London in four months. “Deal with it, learn from it and implement the new strategies I need to be better,” Meares said the level of racing has risen as the cycle approaches its four-year peak.

“It’s an Olympic year, the qualifications are close, the races are hard fought, we’ve seen crashes and relegations,” she said. “People are really starting to fight very hard because that how important it is.” She said her rivalry with Pendleton had more pages left in it. “That’s a book that hasn’t finished being written yet,” Meares said. “The big dance is on London in a few months’ time and I know she’s going to be in amazing form.”

Men’s omnium

Glenn O’Shea gave the home crowd the chance to sing Advance Australia Fair for the second time of the championships after he won the men’s omnium. O’Shea entered the final event of six tied with Canada’s Zach Bell on 20 points but the Australian was second in the men’s kilometre time trial, with his rival placing eighth, for him to win his first omnium world title with 22 points. Bell won silver while Denmark’s Lasse Hansen won the bronze medal.

The 21-year-old is the third Australian in four years, following Leigh Howard in 2009 and Michael Freiburg last year, to win the world omnium title. O’Shea said it was “unbelievable” to win in front of a home crowd. He said his progress in the past 18 months to the point where he was competing at the world championships was “amazing”. “Twelve months ago, I was working a part-time job,” O’Shea said.

Around 18 months ago he set himself the goal of competing at the 2012 Olympic Games. His win in the omnium and his presence in the men’s team pursuit should ensure O’Shea’s ticket to London. “I’ve been ticking off the boxes ever since,” O’Shea said. “This is a massive one ticked. I can hopefully go to London and do the same thing”

The event will make its debut appearance at an Olympic Games this year in London. O’Shea entered the second day on 10 points, six points clear of Bell with Great Britain’s Ed Clancy two further back. The Australian’s consistency over the six events, with him places no lower than sixth in any event, won him the title. Hansen won the individual pursuit and the scratch race to catapult himself into third spot to 29 points, one more than Bell. Clancy won the kilo time trial, which lifted the 2010 world champion to 29 points but the British rider missed out on bronze on a countback with Hansen.

Men’s individual sprint

Former world champions, Sir Chris Hoy and Gregory Bauge, could set up the ultimate clash in the men’s sprint after both qualified for the semi-finals this evening. Hoy did it the hard way, progressing via a repecharge and a best-of-the three quarter-final against German Robert Forstemann.

Hoy, from Great Britain, will meet his compatriot Jason Kenny in what will be more than a fight for the gold medal ride with the two still competing for the one spot available to the British team in the event at the London Olympics Games later this year. Bauge, world champion in 2009 and 2010, cruised through his races unbeaten after qualifying in a world championship record. The 27-year-old posted 9.854 seconds for the flying 200 metres.

The Frenchman will meet Shane Perkins tomorrow night after the Australian progressed to the semi-final when Mickael Bourgain was relegated in the third heat of their quarter-final for not keeping his line. Earlier in qualification, Matthew Glaetzer lowered the Australian record for the flying 200 metres with his 9.902 seconds.

The 19-year-old broke the record set by Darryn Hill at the 1995 world championships in Bogota, Colombia. The semi-finals and finals for the men’s individual sprint will take place at Hisense Arena on Saturday evening.

Women’s scratch race

Katarzyna Pawlowska won Poland’s first female world title after her success in the women’s 10km scratch race at the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne on Friday. Pawlowska surged on the back strait of the final lap of 40 to withhold the late charge of Australia’s Melissa Hoskins and Belgian Kelly Druyts. Czech Jarmila Machacova was the most aggressive rider during the race and made her final attack with four laps left but could not hold off the chasers. The 22-year-old Polish rider said she was lost for words in describing her win.

“I don’t believe now! I’m very happy! Oh my gosh! It’s my first medal at Worlds,” Pawlowska said. Hoskins said she had to go out four wide on the back strait to avoid being stuck in the bunch. “I drifted a bit far back, with about three laps to go a move went and I thought ‘oh I’m in a bit of trouble here’, and it got a bit messy which actually suits me, so I was like this is good there’s people everywhere,” Hoskins said. “You just have to dodge and pick and choose where you go but there are some very quick girls there.”

Women’s omnium

Australia’s Annette Edmondson made the perfect start in the women’s omnium, taking out the flying 200m sprint in 14.377 ahead of Great Britain’s Laura Trott (14.391) and China’s Huang Li (14.427).

Lisa Brennauer of Germany narrowly took out the points race with 23 points ahead of Jarmila Machacovo (CZE, 22pts) and Angie Gonzalez Garcia (VEN, 21pts). The trio took a lap with Japan’s Kanako Kase who finished fourth.

In the elimination, Great Britain’s Laura Trott had too much left in the final showdown with Russian Evgenia Romanyuta. After the first three events, Edmondson and Trott sit at the top of the overall standings with 11 points.

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