British upset and bronze for Bobby Lea at track worlds’ second day

Bobby Lea took a second medal for the U.S. at track worlds on Thursday, and the British pursuit teams were upset

Photo: Casey B Gibson

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Bobby Lea took a second medal for the United States in the men’s 15km scratch race at the world track championships outside of Paris on Thursday. On the second day of racing, of five total, there were a number of major upsets, including the second-ever defeat of the British women’s team pursuit squad.


France’s Francois Pervis retained his keirin title. He produced a blistering last lap to win decisively, ahead of New Zealand’s Edward Dawkins with Azizulhasni Awang of Malaysia in third.

“I’m relishing this. It only happens once in a lifetime. It’s a home world championship,” said Pervis, who can still win two more gold medals in the sprint and 1km time-trial.

“I had a title to defend; to be honest my worlds are already a success. Anything can happen now, it wouldn’t matter.”

Former world champions Shane Perkins of Australia and Britain’s Jason Kenny crashed out in the qualifying rounds while Germany’s Maximilian Levy managed fourth.

Even given a second chance in the repechage, neither 2011 laureate Perkins, who beat British great Chris Hoy to gold that year, nor 2013 champion Kenny could make it through to the medal rounds in the evening session at the national velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines near Paris.

There was no such trouble for reigning champion Pervis who won his first round race ahead of New Zealand’s Sam Webster, pushing Perkins into third and into the repechage.

Men’s 15km scratch

German Lucas Liss won the men’s scratch race, ahead of Albert Torres Barcelo of Spain and American Bobby Lea, who earned bronze.

Liss made a huge solo effort to catch a four-man breakaway near the end of the 60-lap race, and proved to have the strongest sprint in the end.

Women’s 500m

Russia’s Anastasia Voynova upset four-time champion Anna Meares of Australia to win the women’s 500m time trial on Thursday.

The last to race, the 22-year-old clocked 33.149 seconds to beat world record holder Meares, 31, by just over a quarter of a second. The ride denied Meares the opportunity to equal the record of five time trial titles held by Frenchwoman Felicia Ballanger and Natalya Tsylinskaya of Belarus.

It also prevented Meares from claiming sole possession of the record number of women’s world titles — she remains stuck on 10 alongside Ballanger.

Germany’s 2014 champion Miriam Welte finished third at the national velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines near Paris.

Women’s team pursuit

Australia’s women’s team pursuit squad smashed the world record, upsetting Great Britain.

In a disappointing day for the Britons, who were Olympic champions and world record holders in both the men’s and women’s disciplines, they were also beaten by New Zealand for the men’s team pursuit gold medal.

The British women’s team had only ever failed to win the team pursuit once before in the seven previous times the event was contested at the world championships.

Australian quartet Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure, and Melissa Hoskins put in an astonishing ride to finish in 4:13.683 and better Britain’s previous mark by 2.869 seconds.

Australia’s coach, Gary Sutton, said he wasn’t surprised his team won, but admitted the time they produced was unexpected. “I believe they did know [they were capable of that]; I definitely knew. We’ve developed a good network of people around them and they know that,” he said.

“They were quietly confident coming in here. I didn’t expect that time tonight, to be honest with you. I thought it would be about a 15 [4:15), but it was what they were capable of doing and they certainly delivered that.”

Britain’s Katie Archibald, Laura Trott, Elinor Barker, and Joanna Roswell did not disgrace themselves, finishing just 0.15 seconds off the old world record, but they simply could not match the Aussies’ scorching pace.

Canada beat New Zealand to the bronze medal, and the United States finished fifth, with a time of 4:25.693.

Men’s team pursuit

The New Zealand men’s team made no mistakes this time, putting in a storming last kilometer to overhaul the Brits, who led after 3km. New Zealand’s coach, Tim Carswell, admitted he hadn’t expected to take the gold.

“It’s well above their expectations. It’s an extremely young team, I think the average age is only 20 years old. One lad in there who came in for the final is only 18 years old, so it’s an incredible ride by those guys,” he said.

Having started slower, Britain’s foursome of Olympic champions Edward Clancy and Steve Burke, alongside Owain Doull and Andrew Tennant, had moved into the lead soon after the halfway point of the 4km race, but they couldn’t withstand New Zealand’s fierce comeback.

It was only the second time since 2001 that neither Australia nor Britain had won this event.

The New Zealand quartet of Pieter Bulling, Dylan Kennett, Alex Frame, and Marc Ryan finished in 3:54.088, more than half a second ahead of Britain’s foursome.

Britain’s head coach, Iain Dyer, said he was not too disappointed to have missed out on a title.

“A little mixed, it’s always nice when you’re stepping up to the final to hope you’re going to win gold,” he said. “But in performance terms, I think we’ve done a good job there. We gave ourselves every chance right the way to the line and both were really great races. On both levels, men and women, it leaves us in a good place with a year and a half to go to Rio.”

The 2014 champions, and four-time winners in the last five years, Australia, caught Germany to take the bronze medal.

Racing continues Friday with team sprint qualifying, the 1km time trial, the 40km points race, individual pursuit, and omnium racing.

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