Day 1: 2012 London Track Cycling World Cup

Latest reports, results and photos from the opening session of the 2012 London World Cup at the Olympic Velodrome. Tonight’s racing features the Men’s and Women’s Team Pursuit qualifying rounds

It was a good night for Team GB on the opening night of racing for round 4 of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup with the Men’s and Women’s teams qualifying in second.

I’ve heard good things about Peter Kennaugh and tonight on the Olympic velodrome, he looked awesome… almost as good as the crowd who stood up and cheered them round. It was amazing!

Racing at the London World Cup at the Olympic Park got under way tonight with the qualifying rounds of the Team Pursuit for Men and Women. With an excited crowd surrounding the track and the best teams and riders in the World competing, the atmosphere was electric inside the Olympic Velodrome especially when a GB team stepped onto the track. The noise was simply deafening!

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Team GB were there with two very strong line ups. In the Women’s team was Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell and Wendy Houvenaghel  while for the men, the country’s hopes and expectations were on the shoulders of Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh.

Today (Thursday) was the first time any racing has been held on the Olympic boards and that  honour went to the riders in the Women’s competition. Team GB, with two of the World Champions in the line up in Laura Trott and Wendy Houvenaghel , as well as former World Champion Joanna Rowsell , were off in the penultimate heat and the noise was so loud, even the commentators were drowned out by the wave of cheering following the riders around the track.

Wendy, Joanna and Laura on their way to second place with the crowd right behind them.

Rowsell, Houvenaghel  and Trott combined well in the 3,000 metre race against the watch and stopped the clocks with  3:21.370. They will race against Canada in the final on Friday evening for the Gold medal.

Men’s Qualifying

This was always going to be a big test for the GB team. With the other countries having sent their top line ups and without the luxury of starting last, there was to be no feathering of the throttle in this race for GB’s Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh and Steven Burke.

Three of the line up had raced the Olympics, with Clancy and Thomas the reigning Olympic champions and Burke the Bronze medallist from the Pursuit won by Brad Wiggins. It was full gas all the way to the line for the British quartet and their time of 3:58.446was good enough for 2nd  place behind arch rivals Australia, giving them the opportunity to race for Gold on Sunday.

So that was it, the first racing on the Olympic velodrome had been held, and for the British team, it had been a good start to the proceedings.

The Aussies in THOSE World Cup Skinsuits instead of the rainbow jerseys… they were still fastest!

Rider Reactions - Thanks to Paul Burgoine for standing the mixed zone and getting the following reactions! Top job Paul …

Tara Whitten (Canada) :  Tara felt the team had a good chance on the time they set and she was correct, the Canadian team qualified in first place. When asked if she was looking ahead to the Olympics Tara replied “Absolutely it’s great to see the track, and get a sense of what it’s going to be like”.

When asked her impressions on the track Tara replied   “It feels like a fast track most defiantly, although it felt a lot faster in training than tonight in the race”.

Canada were looking strong and also fast, fastest of all the women. Well done to the Brits all working for them, like me, all former staffers at GB!

Sarah Hammer (USA):  Sarah’s impression of the track was” it’s very round…. so good for a pursuit you can be on full gas the whole way round”. She added “It’s beautiful and a thrill to compete in the test event, because the pressure matches that of the Olympics”.

On the introduction of the women’s pursuit in the Olympic programme Sarah said “I would expect and hope the women will aim for the same level of achievement as the men do “

When asked if she would ride the pursuit or the Omnium she said “I’m 50/50 between both events, they are both important to me, it’s important to be with my team as I have been with them since they started. The dream would be to build on the success we have at present”

Sarah was very complimentary about London saying “It’s amazing; I’m very excited. I expect London to put on a fantastic Olympics, this is my first time in London. These are excellent facilities you have here and everyone has been very nice “.

Sarah Hammer.

Melissa Hoskins (Australia):  Comedy Question of the night (not asked by me)  — was it hard?  “Of course it was hard! We wanted to ride the fastest time and qualify for the final. You can’t leave anything on the track at all. We tried our best and we broke our National record, so fingers crossed we did enough for a medal ride off” .

I asked Melissa if she happy with their time? She replied “we went out on our schedule that we wanted to hold and rode well as a unit so I think we can be happy with that”.

Jo Rowsell (Great Britain)  When ask how she felt the ride went Jo said “ Well, we will be racing tomorrow for a medal so I’m looking forward to that, the noise the crowd made was amazing”. Jo said the track was very fast and felt a World Record was not beyond reach this weekend.

Kenny de Ketele (Belgium):  When I asked Kenny if he was happy with the time he replied “Yes I’m quite happy. I think its somewhere around the National Record, but we were aiming to go a bit faster. We tried to follow laps of 14.8 but we got stuck on 15, but I think we had a good race and kept our speed but we will be better at the Olympics”.

I said to Kenny that the team got faster in the final few laps “Yes this is the first time we have ridden in this formation, this was a good ride and we are reaching our goal. It’s just the small details we need to sort out”.

How did you find the track? “Oh I love it!  For the team pursuit its perfect. The curves are not steep, they are long so you can really maintain the same speed as you do on the straight, on our training track (Gent) it is very different. We have short straights and steep curves, so here you can push a big gear and that’s a great feeling on a bike when you can feel that speed “

Kenny’s last words to me were “is my French OK? “  (Ha Ha)

Geraint Thomas works up a sweat in the GB pit before the Team Pursuit ride.

Geraint Thomas (Great Britain) : What’s it like to be on the track? “Oh its great, the whole velodrome is  amazing, the atmosphere amazing, the track itself feels good, it’s quite similar to Newport so for me that’s quite handy. Yeah, I think we did a decent ride there. We was a bit disappointed with the time but we are always striving for more, even after the Olympic final we felt we could have got a few more tenths out of it”.

“We wanted to come here and go through the process and we will analyse that tonight and we got plenty of time to do that with the next race being two days away so we can iron out the factors that need improving on”.

Michael Hepburn (Australia): How was that today?  “For a qualifying ride, we got to be quite happy with it. We have had a few days now and this last day or two we have started to get a good feeling for the track. Tonight was all about qualifying fastest. It’s going to be a very good final on Sunday, it’s going to be two very well matched teams.”

“At first we were a little bit down but we got three World Champions in this team, and we are a team on the up. It’s no secret the oldest person in the team is 22 and we’re doing faster times every event we go to”.

I think the Australians were fastest because when they were on track ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC was playing!

PHOTOS! In the slideshow below are pictures of all the nations who raced tonight.

Other coverage:

Guardian: Will Fotheringham’s Article

Telegraph: Brendan Gallagher

PHOTO SLIDESHOW (Photos of each country racing)


1 Australia 3:57.885

2 Great Britain 3:58.446
BURKE Steven, CLANCY Edward, KENNAUGH Peter, THOMAS Geraint

3 New Zealand 4:04.218
BEWLEY Sam, GATE Aaron, GOUGH Westley, RYAN Marc

4. Belgium
VAN HOECKE Gijs, CORNU Dominique, DE KETELE Kenny, DUFRASNE Jonathan

5 Russia 4:06.823
6 Netherlands 4:07.825
7 Colombia 4:08.287
8 LOKOSPHINX 4:08.999
9 Chile 4:10.222
10 Denmark 4:10.783
11 Korea 4:10.795
12 France 4:12.666
13 Ukraine 4:12.763
14 Italy 4:13.247
15 Germany
16 Hong Kong 4:14.731
17 Switzerland 4:15.339


1 Canada 3:20.785

2 Great Britain 3:21.370

3 Australia 3:21.426
EDMONDSON Annette, HOSKINS Melissam TOMIC Josephine

4 Netherlands 3:22.776

5 United States 3:23.208
6 New Zealand 3:25.468
7 Lithuania 3:28.156
8 Germany 3:28.387
9 Ukraine 3:28.633
10 China 3:29.136
11 Belgium 3:29.188
12 RUSVELO 3:30.190
13 Poland 3:30.975
14 Japan 4:13.408
Belarus DSQ


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