World Track Championships 2009
The pursuit qualifying had one notable absence, that of Rebecca Romero (GB) the Olympic and 2008 World Champion. Qualifying fastest was Wendy Houvenaghel (GBR) who completed the 3000m in a time of 3 minutes 29.491seconds. Joining her in the final ride for Gold/Silver will be Alison Shanks (NZL).
In the race for the Bronze medal Vilija Sereikaite (LTU) will ride off against Joanne Rowsell (GBR).
The first to ride in the qualifying heat was Nontasin Chanpeng from Thailand who completed the 3000m in a time of 4 minutes 1.997minutes.
Second off, was Olga Slyusareva (Russia) the oldest women in the field at nearly 40, who was twice the age of the other rider Dalila Rodriguez Hernandez (Cuba). Rodriguez finished 4th in the World Cup series in the run up to the championships.
Rodriguez Hernandez had a gap of 2 seconds at the 2000m mark and maintained this to the finish, completing the 3000m in 3 minutes 45.956 seconds. Slyusareva finished in 3 minutes 47.162 seconds.
The 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, Leire Olaberria Dorronsoro (Spain) had a good ride and finished in a time of 3 minutes 41.176 seconds. She was up against Ausrine Trebaite (Lithuania) who could not match the pace of the Spaniard and finished in a time of 3 minutes 45.160 seconds.
A crash by the local rider, Edyta Jasinska (Poland) just after the first 1000m mark disrupted the flow of the race for her opponent, Gema Pascual Torrecilla (Spain). Jasinska was not injured and managed to get to her feet. The Spanish rider finished in a time of 3 minutes 56.365 seconds.
Czech Republic rider Lada Kozlikova rode off against the young Belgian Jolien D'Hoore. D'Hoore was the 2008 Junior Road champion and has stepped up this year to the senior ranks. The pair rode well but not quick enough to be in the medal chase.
The next pair to ride were the Ukrainian Svitlana Galyuk and Tatsiana Sharakova (BLR). Galyuk started fast but faded in the later stages as did Sharakova.
The young Australian Josie Tomic and the German Charlotte Becker rode off next. Tomic set a blistering pace and finished in a time of 3 minutes 37.78 seconds. This was a personal best time for the 19 year old. Becker finished in a disappointing 3 minutes 42. 821 seconds.
The winner of the World Cup classics Joanne Rowsell (GBR) is still only 19, but she rode like some one of greater maturity. It was not enough to put her in a gold medal ride but she did enough to ride for a Bronze medal. Rowsell was up against the Canadian Tara Whitten who started slowly but managed to pick up her pace in the closing stages. It was not enough to put her in the chance of a medal.
Lithuanian Vilija Sereikaite rode off against the German Verena Joos. Sereikaite started extremely fast but faded in the later stages. It was enough to put her in a Bronze medal ride. Joos could not match the pace, almost getting caught in the closing metres.
The next pairing, was that of Eleonora van Dijk (NED) and Maria Luisa Calle Williams (COL). Both riders are known more for their endurance racing than pursuiting. Van Dijk finished the fastest of the two but not quick enough to be in medal contention.
The final pair to ride, were the Olympic Silver medalist Wendy Houvenaghel from Great Britain and Alison Shanks (NZL) who have both ridden consistently during the World Cup classic events and were the favourites to ride off for Gold. They did not disappoint, Houvenaghel posted the fasted time of 3 minutes 29.491 seconds ahead of Shanks who qualified second in a time of 3 minutes 31.063 seconds to have the chance to ride off against Houvenaghel for Gold.
Edyta Jasinska (Poland) was allowed to start again after her crash. The home crowd cheered her but it was not enough to get her into a medal position. she finished in a time of 3 minutes 53.744 seconds.
Alison Shanks (New Zealand) has had a consistent track season off the back of her Olympic campaign and posted second best time to get a place in the final. "I am very happy. First round to make the gold medal ride off is great. I am hoping there is some more speed in my legs for the final. It felt a bit dead out there this morning with only pursuiting on. There is not much movement in the air, hopefully it will warm up tonight and i have another good ride," said Shanks.
Josie Tomic (Australia) posted a personal best time to finish 5th overall in the Individual Pursuit event. At only 19 she is actually one of the more experienced members of the Australian team. Tomic chatted after her ride. "I am very happy with my ride. I came here with a goal to go as fast as I could and I did. I was a little bit off when I started but I pulled it back and I did a personal best so I am happy with that," said Tomic.
Tomic will ride in the Team Pursuit on day two of the Championships and commented on the teams chances of a medal. "Our main focus is the Team Pursuit for these championships. We are a young team, I am the oldest and I am only 19. It is good, we have plenty of years to improve. We are hoping to be in the top four and if we ride well a medal," add Tomic.
Tara Whitten (Canada) rode well but did not quite make the medal ride. "We have been spending quite a lot of time in Las Angeles as we don't have that many good facilities or good indoor tracks in Canada yet. There are a few places that are trying to get better tracks but it is taking a while so we have to look else where. We had pretty good training in LA coming into these championships so I felt good today," said Whitten. "I love this track, it is very fast and nice to ride. It is good for me, the transition isn't too hard into the corners," added Whitten. Whitten will be riding the Scratch, Points and Omnium races of the next few days.
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