Jamie Staff describes Matthew Baranoski's path to keirin bronze

USA Cycling's Sprint Program Director Jamie Staff was on hand in Montichiari, Italy, for the 2010 UCI Juniors Track World Championship. Here is his account of the men's keirin competition, and how Matthew Baranoski (Perkasie, Penn.) took home the bronze medal.

Matthew came into the keirin with good motivation. He was disappointed with his sprinting, but knew he could do better in the keirin.

In the first round, Matthew took control of the race and got to the front with two laps to go, but was unable to defend the lead from a very quick German, Stefan Botticher, who was the quickest qualifier in the sprint event two days earlier. In the first round, the winner from each heat advances through to the semifinal, and so all the other competitors had to race the second-chance qualifier if they were going to progress. Matthew finished a clean second place and so had to ride the second-chance qualifier.

Matthew had a good chance to get an idea of his competition from the first round of racing, and took confidence from his first ride and how good he felt.

In the second-chance qualifier Matthew again took control of the race and showed that he was the one to beat. Matthew didn't wait around to get caught up in any drama, but instead took the front and maintained his lead for a convincing win over the rest of the field.

In the semifinal, Matthew again looked confident and definitely made his presence known to the rest of the field. Obviously, the pace in this heat was quicker than the first rounds. But Matthew found himself fighting for position in the front of the race and came across the line in second place, showing that he was definitely someone to watch out for in the main event.

Remaining very composed, Matthew took strength from his previous heats and was ready for the final.

Matthew has gained lots of experience from racing the keirin in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, at the Friday night pro races, and this was definitely clear. He stood out among the rest of the field with a select few that obviously had some experience in this very tactical race. The keirin is not for the faint-hearted, and so an experienced rider is going to have the upper hand.

The Australians and German were looking good, and had shown their cards as being fast riders and the ones to beat. Matthew didn't quite have the same top speed as some of the Europeans had, but he possesses great speed endurance which meant he wasn't going to fade in the closing stages of the race.

In the final, Matthew couldn't find a place in the front of the line of riders like he had done in the earlier rounds, but kept trying to make a hole to slide into. He was somewhat exposed as the derny built up speed and got ready to pull off, but again found himself fighting for one of the front spots.

The track in Montichiari has very big, round turns with shorter straights than most tracks, which means that it is harder to make up ground in the straights. A rider is forced to make any moves early in the turns so that they enter the straights with more speed than their competitors.

The men's keirin final started to pan out with the best riders in the front of the field. Matthew was right up there in front among the action-filled last half of a lap only to find himself shooting out of turn four in third position with clean air between himself and the remainder of the field.

It was a brilliant outcome for a hard day's work, and something he'll remember for a long time. Matthew is only in his first year as a junior and so will come away with huge confidence about his ability as one of the sport's up-and-coming stars.

Full results from the UCI Juniors Track World Championships

This Article Published August 16, 2010 For more information contact: