Athens 2004 - Track Events
Tuesday 24th August 2004
The semi finals take place this evening. They are to be best-of-three, with the winner going through to the final.
There will also be finals for places 5-8 on Tuesday.
The semi finals see the Russians against each other, whilst one of the youngest sprinters takes on one of the eldest - 20 year old Anna Meares goes against 38 year old Lori-Ann Meunzer.
Meunzer vs Meares
Krupekaite vs Grankovskaya.
Venezuelan, Daniela Larreal crossed the line first, but had already closed down into the red sprinter's lane, causing Krpueckaite to crash.
Meunzer vs Meares
Meunzer had drawn to lead out and took Meares around the track, staying low and watching over her right shoulder. With just over a lap to go, as they were accelerating, Meares dropped under, then went flat out to stay ahead for the remainder of the ride. She slowed slightly on the line, allowing Meunzer to close the gap slightly.
For race 2, it was Meares' turn to lead the first lap, unless of course Meunzer decided to come past. Unlike the first race, where Meunzer started steadily and around the bottom of the track, Meares used the width of the track. Meunzer came through immediately the crossed for 2 to go. She had a slight lead as the bell rang. Meares looked like she was going to close it, although there was still a lot to do entering the final straight, but sat up. It was 1-1 in the series.
The deciding match saw Meunzer leading out, having lost the draw. She stayed low, but watched Meares carefully, who was using the width of the track. This was not a slow race and although Meares tried to come back at Meunzer around the final bend, she really had no response. Meunzer was through to the gold - silver final
Meunzer beat Meares 2-1
Abassova vs Grankovskaya
Abassova led the more experienced rider and sometime training partner around the first lap and at the bell, Grankovskaya accelerated and stayed clearly away to take the first race relatively easily.
Grankovskaya was first rider for this race, leading Abassova around the black line at the bottom of the track. They stayed low for the second lap and then Abassova went high on the second bend with a lap to go. As they approached the finish line with a lap to go, both were winding up, but Grankovskaya had no answer for the speed gained by Abassova as she descended off the banking. This semi final, too, was at 1-1 after 2 races.
Abassova was the leading rider in the third race. The two Russians set off low and at a steady pace. Unlike the other semi final, they didn't use too much o the track. Grankovskaya showed some speed, but Abassova reacted and stayed away through the bell and to the line.
Abassova beat Grankovskaya 2-1
Grankovskaya vs Meares
Meares led out for race 1. She kept the Russian in her sights, as she feinted behind Meares. At the bell, they both accelerated quickly and Meares stayed away to take the first race of the series.
The second race saw the riders take some time to settle on the start line. When they did, the pace was steady and Grankovskaya stayed in front for lap 2. Meares jumped with 11/2 laps to go, the Russian came back at her, but it was not enough. Meares took the race in 11.822 seconds.
Meares beat Grankovskaya 2-0
Gold - Silver Ride-off
Abassova vs Meunzer
Abassova took Meunzer around the first lap. The difference in size between the two riders obvious. Abassova went first, but the power of Meunzer allowed her to accelerate past Abassova to take the first race of the series.
As the two took the track for their second race, a cheer went up for Meunzer, who was due to lead out this round. Meunzer kept the pace high and flicked every now and then to remind Abassova she was there...
The y took the bell and Meunzer waited until she sensed the Russian before accelerating. When she did, she took the gold medal easily. This was Canada's women's first track cycling medal.
Meunzer beat Abassova 2-0
In summary, then
1 Lori-Ann Meunzer (Can)
2 Tamilla Abassova (Rus)
3 Anna Meares (Aus)
4 Svetlana Grankovskaya (Rus)
With Lori-Ann Meunzer obviously delighted at her win, Anna Meares pleased with bronze, there was perhaps a feeling for Tamilla Abassova that she had lost the gold, not won the silver medal in the women's sprint.
Meunzer had felt the pressure - "It was an incredible week for me but with a lot of pressure due to the fact that the sprint was on three days", but was another cyclist taken up by the enormity of the Olympics: "It is the reward of five years of very hard work. It's an honour for me to participate at the Olympic Games and to represent Canada in so many events."
Olympian, Tamilla Abassova was somewhat circumspect with her result, but
knows what she will be doing for the next 4 years leading up to Beijing :
the gold medal, I didn't make it but I am on the podium, the silver
medal is also okay."
Anna Meares was generous about her competition and reflected upon the fact that although she had bronze, she had lost in the semi-finals to the eventual Champion "I am disappointed at losing the semifinal against Meunzer but when you see who has the gold, you can easily understand." she also said that "I am glad with the bronze medal."
Crash victim in the 5-8 place final, Simona Krupeckaite has withdrawn from the Points race on Wednesday.
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