Higgins scores 6th in points race on opening day of Track Worlds

Cari Higgins (Boulder, Colo./Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12) recorded the strongest American performance of the opening day of competition at the 2011 UCI Track World Championships in Apeldorn, Netherlands with a sixth-place result in the women’s points race. The U.S. team sprint trio finished 12th and Bobby Lea (Mertztown, Pa./The Sports TEAM) posted an 11th-place result in the men’s scratch race.  
 
Cari Higgins finished sixth in the points race in her first-ever world championship competition.
Cari Higgins finished sixth in the points race in her first-ever world championship competition.

Women’s Points Race
 
The reigning national champion Higgins quickly warmed up to world championship competition, winning the opening sprint in her first-ever world championship race. A group of four was able to break away mid-race however making it difficult for the pack to gain points. Once Tatsiana Sharakova (BLR) lapped the field, Higgins was able to snag a pair of points on the penultimate lap and secure her sixth-place spot; just ahead of Dutch strongwoman Marianne Vos.
 
“I had some energetic nerves, but for my first world championship ride I’m happy with it,” explained Higgins. “It’s good to get it under my belt, but on the other hand it wasn’t a complete unknown for me as I’ve been racing against many of these girls all season. If people know me as a rider then they know this is a big improvement as far as just pure endurance and this is reflective of the hard work we’ve all been putting in this program. I expect to be in the top 10 and I’d be happy to be on the podium but I think that is the next step.”   
 
Men’s Team Sprint
 
The U.S. men’s team sprint squad of Giddeon Massie (Cypress, Calif./Bike Religion), Dean Tracy (Portland, Ore./Project 2012) and Michael Blatchford (Cypress, Calif./Project 2012) finished 12th in the standings after recording 46.190 in their qualifying run. Along with Spain, the American trio was the first of the 18 teams to contest the men’s sprint. Both the U.S. and Spanish squads suffeed a false start before eventually completing the three-lap event.
 
After things got going the American team was able to post a time just one second off the unofficial American record set by Dean, Massie and Jimmy Watkins (Bakersfield, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling) at the final world cup round in Manchester last month. A high pressure system and below normal temperatures inside the velodrome where rumored to be factors in keeping times a bit slower across the board.   
 
The U.S. men's team sprint squad was one second off the unofficial American record in their first time all competing together.
The U.S. men's team sprint squad was one second off the unofficial American record in their first time all competing together.

“Kind of tough conditions in here today,” said Tracy. “ We didn’t quite end up with the time we wanted, but for a first time it’s a lot to take in. We learned a lot and got some good lessons to take home and build on heading into continental championships next month.” 
 
After a qualifying time of 43.951, France went on to win the gold over Germany with Great Britain taking bronze over Australia.
 
Men’s Scratch Race
 
Lea put himself in good position early in the men’s 60-lap men’s points race and was one of the few able to hold the highly aggressive pace. With a solid 11th-place finish, the omnium national champion can now focus his attention on the Olympic event set to begin Friday.
 
Coming Up
 
On Thursday Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./OUCH) will team up with Jennie Reed (Seattle, Wash./OUCH) and Dotsie Bausch (Irvine, Calif./OUCH) to go for her first gold of these Track World Championships in the team pursuit; while Massie will also contest the men’s sprint.
 
Check the link for the full schedule and more information on the UCI Track World Championships. Don’t forget to stay tuned to www.usacycling.org for daily reports, PHOTOS and brief, behind the scenes VIDEOS of the action.
 
Results

UCI Track World Championships
March 23-27, 2011
 
Men’s Team Sprint
1. France 43.951
2. Germany 44.101
3. Great Britain 44.128  
12. USA - Giddeon Massie (Cypress, Calif./Bike Religion), Michael Blatchford (Cypress, Calif.), Dean Tracy (Portland, Ore./Rubicon Cycling) 46.190
 
Women’s 25-kilometer Points Race
1. Tatsiana Sharakova (BLR) 30
2. Jarmila Machacova (CZE) 20
3. Giorgia Bronzini (ITA) 14
6. Cari Higgins (Boulder, Colo./Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12) 7
 
Men’s 15-kilometer Scratch Race
1. Ho Ting Kwok (HKG)
2. Elia Viviani (ITA)
3. Morgan Kneisky (FRA)
11. Bobby Lea (Mertztown, Pa./The Sports TEAM)  
 
 
Cycling fans can watch live online at universalsports.com at 2:30 p.m. EST on Thursday or see a re-cap of all the action from Apeldoorn during a two-hour show on the Universal Sports television network on Sunday, April 3rd at 7:00 p.m. EST.


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