February 22, 2015 (St Quentin-en-Yvelines, France) – Canada’s Monique Sullivan put in a solid day at the office claiming fourth in the women’s Keirin finishing just off the podium with superb racing on the final day of competition at the 2015 UCI Track World Championships in St-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France.
This is Sullivan’s best world championship result and raises the bar on her previous best 6th place in the Keirin at the London Olympics in 2012. Recently she qualified third at the Cali Track World Cup, another personal best, all of which affirms that her form and comeback are on well on track.
She rode a strong race today in the Keirin gold medal final just getting edged out for the bronze at the end of the race by Cuba’s Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez.
The Canadian team comes home from five days of competition at the Track Worlds with Sullivan’s fourth, Jasmine Glaesser’s sixth in the women’s Individual Pursuit and two bronze medals courtesy of Allison Beveridge in the women’s Scratch race and the Women’s Team Pursuit squad.
Australia’s Anna Meares took an historic win in the women’s Keirin by, becoming the most prolific female track world champion in history by recording her 11th title. Meares had been tied at ten titles with France’s Felicia Ballanger, but now stands alone among female riders. Shanne Braspennincx of the Netherlands took the silver medal and Liasandra Guerra Rodriguez of Cuba the bronze.
“I had a rough day in the sprint two days ago,” said Meares, “and I wasn’t sure how I was going to perform today. Credit to my team and my coach who got behind me and let me have some fun today. I don’t even remember the race, I was just enjoying myself out there.”
“I applaud the UCI for being ahead with the times, for bringing the cameras onboard to give an insight to our fans why we love the sport of track cycling. Cameras and TV from the outside doesn’t do it justice. It doesn’t show the speed, the close racing, the steepness of the banking,. I personally have enjoyed Francois Pervis in the Keirin on the onboard camera, and I hope many have enjoyed mine as well.”
Australia was the first nation to stand on the top step of the podium on the final day after Annette Edmondson won the women’s Omnium competition. In the six events contested over two days, Edmondson won two and only finished out of the top-5 once, for a total of 192 points. Laura Trott (Great Britain), the Olympic champion in the Omnium, overtook Kirsten Wild (Netherlands) to finish second with 175 points, one point in front of Wild.
“I’m absolutely stunned,” admitted Edmondson. “I just came in here and gave it my all. Absolutely stoked. This is a big personal goal between myself and my coach Pat Gilmore. We wanted this for so long and came so close for so long. We came in with a different approach this year, we came in a bit more fresh mentally, and to focus on every event individually.”
“Coming into today I knew my strengths were the 500 and the Flying Lap and I just had to focus on them, get them out of the way. In the Points race I had three girls who were quite close to me, but they were also close to each other, so I just let them do the work, let each one chase the other, and they ended up tiring each other out toward the middle of the race, so I was a bit more fresh toward the end. It all played into my advantage.”
“This win is a huge step for the Australian women’s endurance program. We’ve struggled in the last few years, but we’ve been doing everything right. We’ve changed a few things around and it has been really positive for the girls back home and the girls here. It gives us confidence going into Rio next year.
The focus then switched to the two final men’s events on the program, beginning with the crowd favourite Madison. Great Britain took an early lead in the race by gaining a lap on the field. France, Italy, Belgium and Spain fought back, retaking the lap and scoring more points in intermediate sprints, to put the Brits out of contention. Going into the final sprint, the French squad of Bryan Coquard and Morgan Kneisky held a slim three point lead over Italy’s Liam Bertazzo and Elia Viviani. If Italy could win and France did not finish right behind them, the title would go to the Italians. Italy did take the final sprint, but France finished second, to win the title by a single point.
“It was a very hard race,” agreed Kneisky, “with the Italian guys and the English guys taking a lap. It was not easy for me and Bryan [Coquard]. But we were strong during the race. In the final part of the race I think we were the best, when we took a lap for the win.”
The world championships concluded with the men’s Sprint competition. France was clearly dominant, with four potential medalists in the field. The first big battle of the competition was between French rivals Gregory Bauge and defending champion Francois Pervis in the quarterfinal round, with Bauge defeating Pervis in three rides. Bauge then beat another French rider, Quentin Lafargue, in the semi-final round before taking on Russia’s Denis Dmitriev in the gold medal final. Bauge was clearly the stronger rider, winning his fourth Sprint title. Quentin Lafargue took the bronze the bronze.
Bauge admitted that this win was special: “Maybe what makes it different is that it happened in France, at home with my family and all my compatriots. We did something big [with 7 medals] but, to be honest, we were not expecting that. But it is good in the perspective of the [build up to the] Olympic Games, even though there is still work to do.”
The next World Championships will be staged in London, Great-Britain, between March 2-6, 2016.
With files from the UCI.