Spurred on by the home crowd, France resumed
its position at the head of international track racing, at the second day
of the track World Cup final round, held at Hyeres in the south of France.
Under a hot sun, with temperatures in the 30s, France won both the men's
and women's match sprint and finished fourth in the points race, to strengthen
their lead in the nations' World Cup competition over Germany, Russia
In the other three finals of the day, the women's pursuit and the men's
team pursuit, Lithuania won the women's event with Rasa Mazeikyte,
while world champions Italy had a convincing win in team pursuit.
In the final race of the day, Micheal Sandstod of Denmark
won the men's points race with a last gasp attack that surprised race favourite
Felicia Ballanger of France showed just why she is three times world
champion, when she easily won the sprint competition.
Riding infront of her home crowd, she won the final 2-0 against
Ulrike Weichelt of Germany. In each ride she came past her rival with two
hundred metres to go, and powered to the line with several metres' advantage.
In the first ride Ballanger and Weichelt did a track stand. Ballanger
wanted to the German rider to lead out the sprint but after more than a
minute of tensed muscles, Ballanger slipped and the ride was cancelled.
it was the only sign of weakness from Ballanger, and she soon wiped it
out by winning the sprint. On this form she has to be a favourite at the
world whampionships in Bordeaux.
1. Felicia Ballanger (FRA) 12.310 and 12.100
2. Ulrike Weichelt (GER)
3. Olga Grichina (RUS) 12.910 and 12.830
4. Szilvia Szabolcsi (HUN)
After winning the women's sprint, France also dominated the men's
sprinting competitions at Hyeres, with Laurent Gane winning the final in
two straight rides.
Gane, cheered on by the partisan and knowledgable French crowd, beat
the 120kg Australian giant Sean Eadie.
In the first ride, Gane was unstoppable and blasted over the top of
Eadie to win easily, with a time of 10.720 for the final 200 metres. In
the second ride Gane again tried to go over the top of Eadie. The Australian
fought hard and matched the Frenchman all the way to the line. A photo
finish was called and Gane just got it with a time of 10.700.
In the ride for third and fourth place, which is important for qualification
for the world championships, the expereinced Eyk Pokorny beat Jose Moreno
of Spain in two rides. Ota Schinichi of Japan won the ride off for 5th
to 8th place.
1 Laurent Gane (FRA) 10.720 and 10.700
2. Sean Eadie (AUS)
3. Eyk Pokorny (GER) 10.950 and 11.200
4. Jose Moreno (ESP)
Women's 3000m individual pursuit
Rasa Mazeikyte of Lithuania was the surprise winner of the women's pursuit.
She was not on the original start list for the pursuit and has not been
placed in the other rounds of the world cup.
Yet here in Hyeres, she was fastest in the qualifiying round in the
morning with 3:40.818 and then won the event with a time of 3:43.61. In
the final she beat Yvonne McGregor of Britain, whose time was 3:47.600.
Mazeikya looked smooth and powerful during the whole 3000m and even
when McGregor tried to come back in the final kilometre, the young Lithuanian
had something more in reserve and upped the pace again. She will be a name
to remember for the world championships in August.
In the ride off for third and fourth place, Leontien Van Morsel of Holland
won with a time of 3:42.233. She beat Natalia Karimova of Russia who returned
a time of 3:48.480.
1. Rasa Mazeikyte (LTU) 3:43.610
2. Yvonne Mcgregor (Gbr) 3:47.604
3. Leontien Van Morsel (Hol) 3:42.330
4. Natalia Karimova (Rus) 3:48.485
Men's 4000m team pursuit
Italy showed that they are still the fastest at team pursuiting,
when they won the event in a rapid 4:09.330.
On their carbon aero bikes, the Italians swooshed around the 250 metre
track, with the pounding of the hard disk wheels sounding like a jet fighter
passing over head. Captain of the flight was, as ever, Olympic champion
Andrea Collinelli, whose co-pilots were Mario Benetton, Adler Capelli and
Second in the final were the Ukraine team. They lacked the high-tech
bikes of the Italians, but they possessed the hearts and the legs to ride
almost as quickly. Their time of 4:09.775, was just fractionally behind
the Italians and the final lap was a crescendo of excitement, with the
outcome uncertain right until the end.
In the ride off for third and fourth place, the Russian team,
with a time of 4.13.86 was too fast for Great Britain, who finished with
1. Italy 4:09.330
2. Ukriane 4:09.775
3. Russia 4:13.861
4. Britain 4:15.833
Men's 30km points race
Micheal Sandstod of Denmark surprised the field with a late attack
to win the men's points race on the evening of the second day of racing.
A pursuiter by nature, Sanstod is able to cover 4000m in under four
and a half minutes. He knew he had the legs to out-ride the pack and gain
a vital one-lap advantage. Just fifteen laps from the end of the race he
made his move. But after powering away in pursuit of the tail of the 25
riders pack, the blonde Dane was made to suffer as the pack fought to stay
clear of him. It became a race of attrition: the audacious Sanstod against
a star-studded pack led by World Champion, Silvio Martinello. For a while
it looked as if Sanstod had run out of steam, but into the final two kilometres
of the race he seemed to take heart, and just three laps - 750m - from
the finish, the brave Stanstod caught the slipstream of the long line of
riders and the race was his.
Before Sandstod's attack, world points race champion Silvio Martinello
had been dominating the race. He had scored 23 points and was in every
dangerous move. He and nine other riders had gained a lap early on. But
in a lapse of concentration, Martinello missed Sanstod's move and with
the pack tired from a fast race (49.091km/h), there was nobody willing
to join him in a serious chase.
Sanstod had read his opponents well, his brilliant win was the
stuff of a classic points race.
30km in a time of 36:40.40 avg 49.091km/h
Micheal Sandstod (Den) 11 points
Silvio Martinello (Ita) -1 lap 23 points
Bruno Risi (Sui) -1 lap 18 points
Francis Moreau (Fra) -1 lap 14 points
Koji Yoshi (Jap) -1 lap 9 points
Sunday's Racing Preview
Sunday's final day of racing offers five finals,
with the women's 500m time trial, the women's 20km points race, the men's
olympic sprint, the men's 40km madison and closing the racing, the men's
Source: Stephen Farrand