In a thrilling second day of the track world championships in the Ballerup Super Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, the undoubted highlights – unless you’re an Aussie – were provided by 19-year-old phenomenon Taylor Phinney and the unstoppable 34-year-old Chris Hoy
Taylor Phinney faced up to his fellow Trek Livestrong rider Jesse Sergent faced in an awesomeÃ‚Â Men’s 4000m Individual Pursuit final. Both had cycled a 1’07” first kilometre in heats, and Taylor Phinney took an early lead on the 16 laps, with Sergent almost a second and half behind. Sergent dug deep and took a little time, but Phinney looked to have recovered better from the morning’s heat. In a marvellously controlled performance the young American took the gold.
Phinney expressed regret that he wouldn’t be pursuiting in the Olympics, where the event has been dropped in favour of the Omnium: “Pursuiting is where my heart is, it’s what I really love about track racing, but you know, I have to move on and if that’s the Omnium or going straight to the road, I’m not really sure yet,” he told the BBC.
Earlier in the day, Chris Hoy brushed off a nasty scare in the Men’s Keirin heats when the Malaysian riderÃ‚Â Josiah Ng Onn LamÃ‚Â knocked him off his bike just after the gun. Thankfully, it was nothing more than an unwelcome echo of his nasty crash at this same track last year and, with the Malaysian disqualified, the heat was restarted. Hoy went on to win his two heats in textbook style and looked relaxed on the bike. After numerous restarts, Hoy was initially caught napping in the final, and fell back to third place. However, his experience shone through and, with two laps to go, he was on the front. He held everyone off, although Malaysia’ Awang threw his bike at the line, and won by half a bike’s length to take his 10th world title and Britain’s first gold of this year’s world champs.
Over in the women’s competition, the Australian ladies are looking phenomenally strong: in the Women’s Team Sprint, Anna Meares and Carly McCulloch set a new world record successfully defending last year’s gold – 32.923, the first time a female pair has done a sub 33″ ride. The pair broke the record twice on their way to gold.
In the Women’s 3000m Team Pursuit, the British ladies – going in to the event undefeated world champions – were determined to add to their accolades.Ã‚Â New Zealand, however, set a new world record – 3’21.552 – in their bronze medal ride, lifting the bar for the Brits. And, in the gold medal race, the Aussies gave them a lot to think about. Both teams cycled the first kilo in sub-WR pace, and the Australians were technically flawless, denying the Brits and taking gold in slightly over the new world record time.Ã‚Â Now that the team pursuit is a women’s Olympic event, many more nations will be taking it seriously and the bar will no doubt be raised even higher.
Finally, in the Men’s Scratch Race, Alex Rasmussen (DEN), Juan Esteban Arango (COL) Ã‚Â and Kazuhiro Mori (JAP) took an early lap on the field, and, despite a few parries, that was the podium settled with 20 laps to go. Great Britain’s Chris Newton jumped late, but, six laps out, it was too late for him to join them. Rasmussen put the hammer down in the final lap and completely outstripped his rivals to take his second world title at this distance. Arango took silver and Mori bronze.