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Track World Championships 2010 – or Training Session?


The women’s 500 metre time trial was the first race I caught sight of on the TV at the Track World Championships 2010 – it’s hard to get excited about it.

But the Ballerup track was looking great, freshly sanded and with new advertising – what you don’t realise until you look at the down tube of a bike that has just finished in a Derny race is the amount of soot and oil that the little motorbikes pump out – the joiners have buffed all that off, though.

Next up was the women’s pursuit; Sarah Hammer was too quick for Wendy Houvenaghel but with all the emphasis on coaching these days, surely someone should get the American to sit still; apart from looking terrible, it’s costing her time, increasing her frontal area and catching a lot of air.

The team sprint and Chris Hoy’s pedal came off the spindle as he waited to start – bizarre and definitely disconcerting.

The commentators and newspapers weren’t slow to use it as an excuse for the team’s non-qualification for the final, but their 43.5 in the ride-off for bronze wouldn’t have got them into the final either.

In that ride off-for the bronze, I think they were very lucky; Jason Kenny pulled his foot. My recollection of the rules is that only a mechanical problem justifies a restart; I remember France’s late pursuit and prologue star, Charly Grosskost with the tears streaming down his cheeks as the commissaires denied him a restart in the world pro pursuit champs after he’d pulled his foot.

Track World Championships 2010
GB third in the Team Sprint.

I was a tad puzzled by all the chat that surrounded this ride; in my book they were beaten fair and square by two faster teams – full stop.

All three GB riders are hugely experienced – Chris Hoy, enough said; Ross Edgar has been around at this level for a long time and Kenny is an Olympic medallist.

To say that it’s a new team and still being ‘developed’ doesn’t ring true to me – I’m definitely puzzled by what they do with all that time they spend at Manchester track.

It looked like Roger Kluge was going to dominate the men’s points as he scooped up the early sprints but as soon as Cameron Meyer slipped into that four man break to lap the field, there was only going to be one winner.

Track World Championships 2010
When Meyer took a second solo lap, ‘just because he could,’ the writing on the stone tablet was chipped even deeper.

Dane Daniel Kreutzfeldt tried hard to get on terms and Chris Newton showed great courage and ability to take fourth, just a point or two, back but it was Meyer’s night.

And Meyer is a young man who can win Worlds time trial, team pursuit and madison medals as well – pure quality.

I rang Vik; ‘good ride by Newton.’

The reply was as expected; ‘oh aye, what medal do you get for fourth, then?

Day two’s session, started badly for me; I missed Alex Rasmussen’s brilliant ride to take the scratch race, proving – as did Meyer’s ride – that when it comes to ‘real’ racing, the proper pros will always beat the ‘lab rats.’

Alex Rasmussen assumes his best aero position, en-route to the World Title. If it was Meadowbank Track League, he’d be told to “hold his bars properly”.

I walked in the door to see Taylor Phinney taking the men’s pursuit gold – there was no British competitor.

This dismays me – the GB attitude now, is that if it’s not an Olympic event, it’s not really a proper race.

These are the Championships of the World, the pursuit goes back to 1946 at this level and GB has a great history in the event – Cartwright, Brotherton, Hallam, Porter, Sturgess, Doyle, Boardman, Obree, Wiggins, Hayles, Manning.

To decide to ‘bin’ the race because it’s ‘non-Olympic’ strikes me as arrogant and lacking in respect for the event and it’s history.

This leads me into the second part of my rant; whilst the Olympics are a big deal, there’s a clue in the title of these events – ‘World Championships.’

A win means that you are the best rider on the planet at that discipline and entitles you to wear that most beautiful of garments for one year – the rainbow jersey.

And in that discipline, you’re entitled to trim your jersey with worlds bands for the rest of your life.

To listen to Rob Hayles, Tony Gibb and David Brailsford, the events at Ballerup are no more than a glorified training session and all that counts is London 2012 – it’s arrogant nonsense.

The ladies’ team pursuit; Viktor wants to know why, with gender parity, the ladies only ride three kilometres – good question.

Matt Crampton looked good in taking the 7th to 12th keirin final but not as good as Chris in winning – I try to avoid those over-used superlatives, but Chris was brilliant.

Track World Championships 2010
Chris rode a tactically superb final. Photo©Gerry McManus.

They all know what he’s going to do; he does it and wins from two laps out, on the front – epic bike riding.

He has to be in-line for being the greatest sprint rider of all time.

But no medal for Vicki and Jessica; I can’t wait to read about that one, it’ll be a triumph of some sort… I’d never get a job writing for Sky.