Monday, June 24, 2024

Reflections on the 2011 Track World Champs – Part III, Endurance Races


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We conclude our review of the 2011 Track World Champs from Apeldoorn with a look at the endurance events; only one of which will be in the Olympic programme – the team pursuit.

The individual pursuit, madison, scratch and points have all been axed from London.

2011 Track World Champs – Individual Pursuit

Despite the fact that the individual pursuit isn’t on the Olympic programme, the Australian and New Zealand federations still think that it’s a worthy event.

Whilst we understand that Team Sky’s Classics commitments for Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins ruled them out, we feel it’s such a shame that the country which produced Sheil, Porter, Doyle, Sturgess, Boardman and Obree isn’t represented.

But mention of road commitments reminds us that Kiwi pursuit silver medallist – behind Aussie winner Jack Bobridge – Jesse Sergent won the Three Days of West Flanders and still managed to be in Apeldoorn.

But it’s such a shame there’ll no Bobridge, Phinney, Sergent, Wiggins showdown in London — or maybe I should have said ‘Thomas’ instead of Wiggins?

2011 Track World Champs
Jack Bobridge won the pursuit title.

2011 Track World Champs – Scratch

VeloVeritas’ man in the peloton was Andreas Müller, this is what he had to say about the race; ‘the Hong Kong rider — Kwok Ho Ting — won using the same tactic as his compatriot Wang Kam-Po in 2007; leave it late and then go on a solo attack with 10 laps to go — good for the crowd.

It wasn’t such a big surprise, he has some good results behind him — it was an unusual race, not so fast for the first 15 or 20 laps but very fast at the end.

I tried to take a lap in a small group but we were brought back — I finished ninth; I didn’t make any mistakes so can’t be unhappy with my ride.

I think everyone expected more from Cameron Meyer but the scratch is only 15 kilometres which isn’t far enough for him to use his strength.

He was strongest — but not smartest!’

2011 Track World Champs
Kwok Ho Ting perhaps wasn’t the strongest, but that’s not always necessary.

2011 Track World Champs – Team Pursuit

If you look at this event over the last decade there’s a name which keeps cropping up as having been involved in coaching the fastest squads of the day; Germany, Australia, GB, Denmark — and now, Russia.

2011 Track World Champs
Heiko Salzwedel.

That name is Heiko Salzwedel; his second sojourn at GB ended when he decided there was no challenge for him and he answered the call from beyond the Urals

Many said that he was only offered the GB contract in the first place because his Danish boys were getting too close for comfort to the men from Manchester.

Heiko took a minute to talk to VeloVeritas about his team’s performances at Apeldoorn.

4:00 in qualifying and 4:02 in the final; we’re you happy with those rides?

“We’d hoped to break four minutes in qualifying but there was a lot of humidity which isn’t conducive to speed — the track became faster though, you could see that when the kilometre was won with a 1:00.”

You must be happy that your team sprinters took fifth?

“We’ve shown good improvement and we’re concentrating on this discipline and the team pursuit — they’re the ‘flagships.’”

You took fifth in the pursuit with Manakov.

“He’s up and coming, he’s only 19 and will be a key part of our team pursuit squad in London.”

How do you see the track scene coming in to Olympic year?

“The Aussies are so dominant, they’re displaying super power.

“I’d say that they are the top favourites for the Olympics; I think that they are in the same position as the GB team was four years ago.

“But the GB team will have home advantage; it’ll be a great battle between them and the Aussies — but we’ll be looking to surprise!”

2011 Track World Champs
Despite the slow track, the Aussie’s got under four minutes.

2011 Track World Champs – Points

Andreas Müller had hoped to ride the points but Austria only ranked 27th in the standings and there were 24 places; in the event only 18 started, Andreas had this to say;

“We had hoped to ride because there were nations which didn’t start ;so we could ride and the UCI said that we had a good case — but didn’t let us ride!

“The Colombian guy — Edwin Avila Alcibiades — winning was a big surprise; I’d never seen him before.

“I actually commented on the race for German Eurosport, that was fun.

“He used his strength but could maybe have ridden a bit more tactically — the fact there were only 18 riders on the track made it less of a spectacle.

“Meyer (2nd) and Schep (5th) cancelled each other out — if they’d combined it would have been better for them; Morgan Kneisky (3rd) rode a good race, clever and aggressive — he really suffered.’”

We asked Andreas what he thought about comments that the track was ‘slow.’

“I heard that the track wasn’t fast but I rode the same gears as last year for the madison and the average was 54 kph.

“I think that timber hasn’t fully seasoned yet so it’s not as hard as it will be, but the transitions were good, it was warm and the atmosphere was great.”

2011 Track World Champs – Madison

2011 Track World Champs
Andreas Müller.

Andreas did ride the madison and gave his impressions;

“I think it was a hard race to call; some of the big favourites like Mørkøv/Rasmussen and Bartko/Kluge weren’t there.

“It didn’t start fast but got faster as the race went on; we picked up early points and ended up eighth — we didn’t come to be eighth but I think that’s where we belonged.

“It was a hard race, but then I’ve never ridden an easy world championship!

“I thought maybe the Czechs (2nd) would hold on to win but the Aussies were strong.

“Bos didn’t seem to be in great shape, Schep (3rd) was doing double turns for them — it’s easy to say that they should have gone for a lap, but with them being the home team they were very closely watched.

“I’d have liked to ridden the points too but the madison was a cool race; it’s disappointing for me that neither event is in the Olympics — the omnium has too many timed events for me to consider it.”

2011 Track World Champs
More Aussie gold: Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard celebrate after winning the Madison.

We asked Andreas what he thought of the British decision to dump the non Olympic events at the Worlds;

“It’s a shame, look at how good bunch races were at Apeldoorn — cycling isn’t just about the Olympics!

“Are we saying that Juan Llaneras isn’t a good cyclist anymore because the points and madison aren’t Olympic events?

“I don’t understand why GB don’t put riders in all the races, it’s not like it’s a small cycling nation which can’t afford it, is it?”

It’s good to see that we’re not alone in the way we think about track racing.

We hope you enjoyed our wee round up from Apeldoorn, with thanks to Dean, Giddeon, Heiko and Andreas.