World Track Championships
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Wednesday 26th May - Sunday 30th May
The World Track Championships take place this week in Melbourne, Australia. There are 6 women's medals up for grabs - Sprint, Pursuit, 500m TT, Keirin, Scratch and Points. For newcomers to track, a short definition of each event is given below.
Indications of form must surely come from the Sydney round of the Track World Cup just 2 weeks ago. Winner of the sprint there was Natallia Tsylinskaya (RUS) with Victoria Pendleton (GBR) 2nd. Sprinting takes explosive power and although a 2 lap race, the riders will "play cat and mouse" until the final 200m - which is the distance over which they are timed. But, since it is first to the finish line who wins, the all-out effort can sometimes start much sooner than 200m - the riders trying to gain an element of surprise by "jumping" early. This is the race where the riders are often seen at walking pace, or even at a standstill, before battling it out to the finish - sometimes in a physical manner.
Sarah Ulmer (NZ) was best in the pursuit with a near-World Record time and Karin Thurig was runner-up. However, Leontien Ziljard Van Moorsel was not in Sydney - she must be a contender, as must local rider, Katie Mactier - who won silver at last year's World Championships (behind van Moorsel) in her first attempt at the discipline. The pursuit is where riders start 1/2 a lap apart and try to record the fastest time over the 3km, or to catch their opponent before they reach 3km.
The points race, where riders sprint on nominated laps to gain points towards an overall total, was taken by Mexican, Belem Guerrero, followed by Cuban Yoanka Gonzalez. Russia's Olga Slyusareva was third. All three are on the entry sheet for this Championship.
The 500m TT was won in Sydney by the Dutch rider Yvonne Hijgenaar. Second place was taken by Natalie Tsylinskaya (BLR).
The Keirin - the Japanese-invented sprint race where riders are paced from 30km/h to 45km/h by a special moped, was won in Sydney by American, Jennie Reed with Katrin Meinke on her tail.
Finally, the Scratch Race - a bunch race with first over the line victorious was won by Olga Slyusareva (Rus).
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