Athens 2004  - Track Events

Sunday 22nd August 2004

3000m Individual Pursuit 

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Pursuit Finals

Sunday sees the final of the Individual Pursuit - Sarah Ulmer the current World Champion will ride for gold against current World silver medallist - Kate Mactier. Defending Olympic Champion, Leontien Zijlaard van Moorsel - who will be appearing on the international stage for the last time in the ride off for bronze goes against Australian Kate Bates. Form dictates that the result should be Ulmer, Mactier and then van Moorsel. Bates is relatively young and will doubtless be pleased that she has got this far. To win tonight, she would have to shave at least 4 seconds off her best time to meet van Moorsel's best this Games - a tall order......

Event time - 17:40hrs - Athens time

Sprint - Qualifying and Rounds - click here to go to detail

Pursuit Bronze

Kate Bates started quickly and managed to get ahead of the renowned slow starter, Leontien van Moorsel. It did not take long for van Moorsel to edge ahead and then, there she stayed - to take the bronze medal. 

This was history in the making - she has now won more Olympic cycling medals than any other cyclist - male or female. She has 4 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze.

3rd Leontien Zijlaard van Moorsel (Ned) 3:27.037

4th Kate Bates (Aus) 3:31.715

Pursuit Gold / Silver ride-off

Sarah Ulmer was slightly ahead after the first lap. But Kate Mactier took back the advantage for the next laps of the first kilometre. The pace at this point was way ahead of World Record.

Into the second kilometre and Mactier still ahead at half distance. Just 2 laps later, the positions were reversed and Ulmer up by 1.4 seconds.

The third kilometre saw Ulmer ahead and racing on World Record pace. At the bell, Mactier was 2.7 seconds down. Ulmer went on to win 3.24.537 with Mactier taking silver in 3.27.650. Ulmer's time was another World Record.

As Ulmer slowed to a stop, she was held up by team staff as they removed her feet from her pedals. She was breathing very very heavily. Then, just as she managed to get off her bike, Kate Mactier rode alongside and in a great gesture, gave the new Olympic Champion a congratulatory hug. 

In just 2 days, the World Record has been reduced by 6 seconds. The time of all of the medallist beat the World Record which stood at the beginning of these Games.

Although the velodrome has been hot, it has also been extremely fast. World and Olympic records have fallen in women's and men's events.

1st  Sarah Ulmer (NZ)    3:24.537   World & Olympic Medal

 2nd Kate Mactier (Aus) 3:27.650  

With medal and flower presentations by UCI President, Hein Verbruggen and UCI Road President, Pat McQuaid, the riders were congratulated by some of the most powerful people in cycling. 

The presentation marked the first cycling gold ever for New Zealand.

So, in summary : 

1st  Sarah Ulmer (NZ)    3:24.537   World & Olympic Medal

 2nd Kate Mactier (Aus) 3:27.650  

3rd Leontien Zijlaard van Moorsel (Ned) 3:27.037

4th Kate Bates (Aus) 3:31.715



Post Race Quotes

Confirming her retirement from competition, Leontien Zijlaard van Moorsel said that she was "very happy" to have done her "final three kilometres". She went to on to say that she was "in great form and improved one-and-a-half second on yesterday's race. I am very satisfied with my race today and my bronze medal." Of her impending retirement, she said that she intends to watch the videotapes of her performances throughout her career "to look back at a beautiful career of which I am very proud."

Kate Mactier, humble as ever after taking her silver medal was generous about her competitors and about the Olympic Games themselves. She commented that she was "participating in a huge celebration of sport", which was made all the better because she was one of the medallists. She said that she was honoured to be on the podium with two legendary cyclists. Mactier dedicated her medal to her coach (John Beasley) and her family, who are in Athens to see her compete. 

Sarah Ulmer has shaved a massive 6 seconds off her own World Record time in 2 days. Although she didn't watch the clock in her golden ride, she knew it was very fast because she had "tried hard". In factor, the Olympic final was the culmination of a long period of hard work for Ulmer, who went from the World Championships in Melbourne to Europe to focus upon the Olympics. Having set 2 World Records in two days, she confirmed that she intends to enjoy the rest of the Games - joking that she will not be trying to set another World Record on Monday.

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