World Track Championships 2008
to ride for qualification was in the 3000m pursuit were Eleonora Van Dijk
(NED) and Tatiana Guderzo (ITA). The Dutch rider caught and passed the
Italian at 2500m and finished 12 seconds ahead at the finish. Van Dijk
held the fastest time of 3 minutes 32.505 seconds for quite some time.
Despite some top names competing in the event no one could match the speed
of Van Dijk. Notable names were Olga Slyusareva (RUS) 2004 Olympic
champion, Vilija Sereikaite (LTU) the current World Cup leader. Lesya
Kalitovska (UKR) and Karin Thurig (SUI) competing in the event but no one
could match the time of Van Dijk. That was until the big hitters from
Australia, USA and Great Britain started their rides.
Mactier (AUS) rode off against Wendy Houvenaghel (GBR) and the Australian
was in first place on time from the 1750m mark and ahead of Houvenaghel
right to the last 500m. Houvenaghel however pulled out all the stops
finishing just ahead of Mactier in a time of 3 minutes 31.753 seconds
against Mactier’s time of 3 minutes 32.043 seconds. Houvenaghel’s time
was a new British record. This achievement added to the record she set on
the road in 2007 in the 10 mile time trial where she broke a record that
has been held for over 50 years, completing the 10 miles in 19 minutes 50
seconds to become the first woman to go under 20 minutes ever.
to ride were the gold and silver medalist respectively from 2007, Sarah
Hammer (USA) and Rebecca Romero (GBR). Both riders started much slower
than the previous pair but wound it up at the 2000m mark to place
themselves in 1st and 2nd place with Hammer just
ahead by 1/100th of a second. Romero, with home crowd advantage
moved ahead at the 2500m mark and won in a new British record time of 3
minutes 29.593 seconds ahead of Hammers time of 3 minutes 31.041 seconds.
Hunt (GBR Pursuit Coach Women) was
estatic at the end of the pursuit qualifying. Both of his riders secured a
place in the finals, Romero for Gold/Silver and Houvenaghel for Bronze. “We provide the coaching
philosophy but at the end of the day it is their performance. We
facilitate and advise but at the end of the day it is the women who have
to get out there and perform. In front of the home crowd they have show
real resolve. They both went out under the pressure and performed better
than I could have asked. Watching the Dutch rider achieve a ride of 3
minute 32 seconds, really set the bar and it shows real character for both
of them to go out there and deliver new British records. The discipline
that exists within our programme is just shining through. Their warm ups
are very structured; they don’t flap or worry they just get out there
and perform. I could not be more proud of how they performed and it takes
a lot for me to say that” said Hunt.
was asked how difficult it is to peak now and again in August. “We
are on the up and up” said Hunt. “We
have had a steady season with all of the World Cups, a number of riders
hit the first World Cup flying but for us it is all about performing her
and in Beijing. We were relaxed and confident in our own ability but not
arrogant and it is paying off for us” added Hunt.
Hammer (USA) was
relieved that qualifying was over. “That was hard” said
could not be happier with how I rode. This is one of the best years I have
had in terms of preparation and how I have managed to come back from my
Back injury. Two weeks ago I was dreaming of getting into the final, two
or three months ago I would never have believed it was possible. I
didn’t even know if I would be here so I can’t believe I am going for
gold again. You always want to be in that position but to be honest I was
not sure I was going to be able to do it. We have had to change my
training programme quite a lot to accommodate the injury. I can’t really
get in the gym any more so have to do other things for my core strength. I
really could not be happier with my performance. I am going to give it
everything in the final tonight” added Hammer.
was asked how difficult it was riding off against Romero on home ground.
She said “It
is definitely really hard. I have never experience that before. Being
against a home town rider was a new experience for me. I told Andy
[Sparks, Hammer’s Coach and
partner] to shout louder as I could
not hear the times against the crowd. It is definitely exciting I try to
believe that they are cheering for me to make it easier” added
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