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Olympic Games, Beijing, 2008



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Points Race

25km - 100 laps

Race Writeup

The Dutch cycling superstar Marianne Vos won Gold after an incredible attack that saw her gain a lap on the field. Vos attacked after the 6th sprint and left the field standing as she powered to gain a lap. The Olympic title gets added to the long list of championship medals Vos has won and she is still only 21. This is the young Dutchwoman’s first Olympics. 

The Cuban champion, Yoanka Gonzalez, secured the final sprint points to jump her into the silver medal spot ahead of the Spanish riders Leire Olaberria. This was a battle as Olaberria pushed her to the line to get second and 3 important points. Maria Luise Calle (Columbia) was a disappointed 4th finishing on the same points as Olaberria but could not gain any points in the last sprint to move her up.  

The race covered 100 laps (25km) with 10 sprints at 10 lap intervals, with 21 starters representing 21 nations. There were some relative newcomers to the points race and some of the most experienced riders in the world. Qualification for the points race was complex and some unexpected riders started the race as a result of that selection criteria. Rebecca Romero, the British newly crowned Olympic pursuit champion, was riding only her second points race ever; earning that place on the basis of her pursuit selection and lack of any other qualified candidate.

Romero certainly tried to make her mark on the race by attacking early but the more experienced Russian Olga Slyusareva made sure she did not get away.  As the bunch rolled round with one lap to go to the first sprint, Vos attacked and managed to hold on for the first 5 points. Olaberria was on her wheel closely followed by Svetlana Pauliukaite (Lithuania) and Kate Bates (Australia).

Gonzalez rode at the front of the bunch and made her move with two laps before the second sprint. She held off the field to take maximum points. Vos had reacted to her attacked and took second over the line. Again Olaberria and Bates were on close watch to take the next two places respectively. A crash involving Sarah Hammer (USA), Wadami Satomi (Japan), Verena Jooss (Germany) and Trine Schmidt (Denmark) disrupted the race after the second sprint. Only Schmidt was able to continue.  

Calle counter attacked and gained almost half a lap before the bunch responded to try to close her down. They did not manage to close the gap until after the third sprint. In the race for the final points, Pascale Jeuland (France) won the sprint for the second and she was followed by Lada Kozlikova (Czech Republic) and again Gonzalez was in the mix for the last point ahead of Bates. 

Romero attacked straight after the 3rd sprint and again it was Slyusareva who closed down the attack. Bates, moved to the front to set the pace and position herself for the next sprint. Bates, lost  position and ended up boxed in by Lesya Kalitovska (Ukraine). With 100m to go to the 4th sprint, Jeuland moved round to box Bates in further. Kalitovska crossed the line first, ahead of Slyusareva. Olaberria some how managed to get in front of Jeuland and Bates missed out on the points.  

Trine Schmidt the points silver medalist from the 2008 World Championships attacked, Catherine Cheatley (New Zealand), Vos and Romero went with her. The four only managed a small gap before the Chinese rider Yan Li and Hong Kong’s Wan Yiu Wong moved to the front to close down the attack. With 51 laps to go the pace was high as the next sprint approached. Li was on the front followed by Canadian Gina Grain. Right on her wheel however was Kalitovska and Vos. On the line Grain missed the key points and was relegated to 4th.

Romero, attacked again, she tried to use her medal winning pursuiting skills to gain an advantage on the field and quickly gained half a lap. Sensing the danger Calle bridge the gap but the lack of Romero’s experience showed and the pair lost a little momentum in their attempt to work together. This gave the opportunity for Vos who was on the front of the chasing bunch to close the gap.  

Vos, who was on Carrara’s wheel during the sprint, made the decisive move of the race and attacked the bunch. The incredible pace of Vos was not matched by anyone in the bunch and within 8 laps she had caught the field to score 20 points. This put Vos in an unassailable lead and added the pressure on the second and third place riders Kalitovska and Gonzalez.  

As Vos made contact with the bunch the seventh sprint approached, Bates positioned herself well this time, to secure maximum points. Grain also did well to cross the line second ahead of Calle and former World points champion Italian Vera Carrara. Korean Minhye Lee lost one lap after sprint 7 unable to maintain the increasing pace of the race.  

Carrara attacked again with 25 laps to go, she quickly realised that she was not going to get away and pulled up. Romero counter attacked again but this time Cheatley covered the move. The 8th sprint approached, Gonzalez attacked to secure valuable points, Olaberria, was on her wheel, closely followed by Kalitovska and Jeuland. There was an air of panic in the bunch as the laps ticked away. With 23 laps remaining the experience Slyusareva attacked, this was watched carefully by Calle and Bates.  

Slyusareva crossed the line first in the 9th sprint followed by Bates, Jeuland and Calle. This result put three riders in the lead, Vos with 30 points and Gonzalez and Calle on 13 points and three riders, Bates, Olaberria and Kalitovska on 10 points.  

The fight to the medals unless someone could get a lap was between the seven riders behind Vos. She just needed to keep out of trouble and watch for attacks. The came quickly, Romero attacked again but again this was covered by Cheatley. Vos decided to take no risks and attacked again. Grain went with her, but so did Gonzalez and Slyusareva.  

With four laps to go the bunch were together, the Gold medal was assured for Vos and the fight was on for the final points and the Silver and Bronze medals. Bates was switched by a number of twitchy riders as they approached the bell lap. This forced her out of position and out of the medals. She lost position and could not get back into the race. Gonzalez beat Olaberria for the top points and Silver medal. Olaberria had to settle for second across the line and third overall and the Bronze medal. Grain crossed in forth to get the two points ahead of Li.      

Calle finished 4th overall, and a disappointed Kalitovska and Bates, finished 5th and 6th respectively. Romero finished 11th in the end.  

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Sprint Number Finish Order Lap Points
Rank Name Country 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 + - Balance Total Points
Gold Marianne Vos Netherlands 5 3 2 13 20 20 30
Silver Yoanka Gonzalez Cuba 5 1 2 5 5 1 18
Bronze Leire Olaberria Spain 3 2 2 3 3 2 13
4 Maria Luisa Calle Colombia 5 5 2 1 8 13
5 Lesya Kalitovska Ukraine 5 3 2 5 10
6 Katherine Bates Australia 1 1 5 3 18 10
7 Pascale Jeuland France 3 1 1 1 2 11 8
8 Olga Slyusareva Russia 3 5 17 8
9 Gina Grain Canada 1 3 2 3 6
10 Yan Li China 5 1 4 6
11 Rebecca Romero Great Britain 3 14 3
12 Svetlana Pauliukaite Lithuania 2 9 2
13 Lada Kozlikova Czech Republic 2 16 2
14 Vera Carrara Italy 1 12 1
15 Wan Yiu Wong Hong Kong 6 0
16 Evelyn Garcia El Salvador 7 0
17 Catherine Cheatley New Zealand 10 0
18 Trine Schmidt Denmark 15 0
19 Minhye Lee Korea 19 40 -40 -40
Sarah Hammer United States DNF
Satomi Wadami Japan DNF
Verena Jooss Germany 20 -20 DNF

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