Archive for April, 2009
They’re called Taylor Phinney, Cameron Meyer, Eilzabeth Armistead, Josephine Tomic, Morgan Keisky, Leigh Howard, Grégory Baugé. They come from the United States, Australia, Great Britain and France. They are World Champions. But, above all, they are all very young!
The 2009 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, which took place in the magnificent setting of the new velodrome in Pruszkow, Poland, was marked by an extremely important shift of power between the generations. This can be seen as a turning point compared with the principal events of these last years – particularly the Beijing Olympic Games – where the British dominated almost all the specialties.
Apart from the absence of Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and Rebecca Romero, which certainly contributed to restoring a greater balance in the different disciplines, a “new wave” of track cyclists progressively imposed itself as the days went by, providing an intense sporting spectacle of the highest quality.
For example, we witnessed Taylor Phinney’s winning performance against Jack Bobridge – who is also just 19 years old – in the pursuit, and the success of Cameron Meyer – 21 years old – in the points race. Both the American and the Australian should now be considered among the strongest and most all-round athletes on the circuit. The titles that they won in Pruszkow represent just the beginning of their careers in the Elite category after numerous victories as Juniors.
The new king of the sprint, Grégory Baugé, is also still very young. At 24 years old, he won his fourth consecutive gold medal in the teams’ event before earning, for the first time, the rainbow jersey in the individual competition. His closest rivals – the Malaysian Aziz Awang, who has just turned 21, and his compatriot Kévin Sireau – can also look ahead with confidence to their future in this specialty, where Great Britain does not appear able to guarantee a successor for Hoy.
New Women’s world record
In the Women’s competition, the 2009 UCI Track Cycling World Championships were marked by the exploit of the Lithuanian Simona Krupeckaite, who established a new world record in the 500 metres. As for Victoria Pendleton, she met with some difficulties and left Poland with only one of the four gold medals that she was aiming for. After dominating the sprint events in Manchester and Beijing, she had to make do with the individual sprint title while conceding unexpected defeats: in the 500 metres where she finished third, but also in the keirin, won by the Chinese athlete Guo Shuang, and in the team sprint, which went to Australia.
Track cycling, a universal discipline
In total, 18 of the 38 countries participating in these championships placed at least one athlete on the podium, and 11 of them had the privilege of seeing one of their representatives on the highest step. This new geographical distribution, with riders from four continents sharing the 19 titles, is a very positive aspect of the overall result of these World Championships.
Indeed, the exploits of the following nations confirm the universality of track cycling. Germany celebrated the victories of Maximilian Lévy in the keirin and Stefan Nimke in the kilometer. Denmark has now truly launched the 2010 edition in Copenhagen thanks to its victories in the Madison and the team pursuit. Giorgia Bronzini, having already won the World Cup, gave Italy a gold medal in the points race. Malaysia, Cuba, China, Canada and Belgium also left Poland with extremely positive results, demonstrating that the new Olympic cycle has got under way with encouraging prospects in view.