Men's team sprint & scratch race featured on Day 1 of Track Worlds

  
  


The men's team sprint riding at the 2012 UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne. (Photo by Casey Gibson)
The men's team sprint riding at the 2012 UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne. (Photo by Casey Gibson)
The 2012 UCI Track World Championships began Wednesday at a boisterous Hisense Arena in Melbourne. With a chance to earn a berth in the 2012 Olympic Games on the line in the men's team sprint, the Americans were focused on what was in front of them.

Men's Team Sprint
The Americans' effort began with the defending men's team sprint national champion trio of Michael Blatchford (Cypress, Calif./Project London 2012), Kevin Mansker (Long Beach, Calif./Project London 2012) and Jimmy Watkins (Bakersfield, Calif./Project London 2012). The Americans registered a 44.788, but were relegated due to the exchanges occurring outside the 15-meter zone where exchanges are permitted.

"At the end of the day, I was proud of the way we came into this," USA Cycling Director of Sprint Jamie Staff said. "The guys' times were on par with what I was hoping. It's disappointing to be disqualified. I'm proud of what the lads have done in such a short time. They've come on in leaps and bounds mentally, physically, emotionally, everything. We gave it our best shot. As long you've tried your hardest and done everything you can, you can walk out of the arena with your head held high."

In the finals, Australia narrowly defeated France by one-thousandth of a second to earn the gold while New Zealand beat the Japanese entry to secure the bronze medal.

Men's Scratch Race

Bobby Lea and Moreno De Pauw led the men's scratch race for approximately 10 laps. (Photo by Casey Gibson)
Bobby Lea and Moreno De Pauw led the men's scratch race for approximately 10 laps. (Photo by Casey Gibson)
About midway through the 15-kilometer race, Bobby Lea (Topton, Pa./Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA), working with Moreno De Pauw (BEL), opened a half-lap margin on the field. They held the advantage for about 10 laps before the peloton caught them, setting up a sprint finish. In the final lap, Ben Swift (GBR) opened a margin of nearly two bike lengths. He held off a surging Nolan Hoffman (RSA) for the gold while Wim Stroetinga (NED) took home the bronze medal.

"I didn't know what to expect in the scratch race because it was a mixed bag as far as the contenders were concerned," Lea said. "Some guys were sprinters, some guys were more of the breakaway types and there were some unknowns. I decided to ride around and see what would happen."

Lea, who placed 20th in the scratch race, now sets his sights to the six-event men's omnium beginning Thursday.

COMING UP
The competition continues Thursday and the Americans will compete in the women's team pursuit, women's points race and the first three races of the men's omnium. The women's sprint and men's kilometer time trial are also on Thursday's docket.

Each day's second session will begin at 7 p.m. in Melbourne and will be streamed live at www.universalsports.com. Additionally, Universal Sports will air a two-hour recap show on April 14 at noon EDT. Please find daily recaps, videos and a. photo gallery from Melbourne on www.usacycling.org.

The 2012 UCI Track World Championships web page offers a complete schedule, results and more.

2012 UCI Track World Championships
April 4-8, 2012
Hisense Arena
Melbourne, Australia

FULL RESULTS

PHOTO GALLERY

Men's Team Sprint
1. Australia 43.266
2. France 43.267
3. New Zealand 43.812
REL. USA: Michael Blatchford (Cypress, Calif./Project London 2012), Kevin Mansker (Long Beach, Calif./Project London 2012) and Jimmy Watkins (Bakersfield, Calif./Project London 2012) 44.788

Men's Scratch Race
1. Ben Swift (GBR)
2. Nolan Hoffman (RSA)
3. Wim Stroetinga (NED)
20. Bobby Lea (Topton, Pa./Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA)



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