Sat, Mar 28, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Britain tops podium, Phinney ends US’ 16-year wait

AFP , PRUSZKOW, POLAND

Taylor Phinney of the US sticks out his tongue on the finish line as he celebrates his victory in the UCI Track World Championships men’s individual pursuit final at the BGZ Arena in Pruszkow, Poland, on Thursday.

PHOTO: AFP

Olympic track kings Britain finally topped the podium after two days and nine finals with gold in the women’s team pursuit at the world track cycling championships on Thursday.

However, Britain, winners of an incredible seven of the 10 Olympic titles in Beijing, were left trailing in several potential gold-winning events for the second day in a row.

Wendy Houvenaghel teamed up with Joanna Rowsell and Lizzie Armitstead to beat New Zealand to the gold in the women’s 3km pursuit event, defending their title in the process.

But in the team sprint final, Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade failed to outgun a mix of Aussie youth and experience in 25-year-old Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch, aged 21.

Meares, who claimed silver in the women’s 500m time trial on Wednesday, powered over the first lap to leave Shanaze Reade trailing by the slimmest of margins.

Despite having to hold off world and Olympic sprint champion Pendleton, McCulloch finished off the job to bring Australia home in a winning time of 33.149 seconds.

Pendleton took a well deserved bronze in the 500m time trial on Wednesday, but after losing this crown will turn to more serious matters in the women’s sprint tournament, in which McCulloch, not Meares, will carry Australia’s hopes.

Arguably the biggest event of the day was the men’s individual pursuit and for once the track superpowers were forced to eat humble pie — American style — as teenage sensation Taylor Phinney struck gold in the men’s pursuit to end the US’ 16-year wait for the title.

Phinney, standing an impressive 1.93m tall, overcame a strong challenge from Australian Jack Bobridge, who finished second, with Belgian Dominique Cornu beating Volodymyr Dyudya to the bronze.

Phinney is the son of successful cycling parents.

Father Davis won bronze in the 100km team time trial in 1984, the same year his mother Connie Carpenter won gold in the women’s road race.

He admitted that may have given him the edge, as he continues his impressive rise up the track ranks.

“My mum was pursuit world champion, my dad was a good sprinter, so maybe I’ve got this big genetic advantage. It’s sort of written in my gene code that I should be good at this event,” Phinney said.

Outgoing champion Bradley Wiggins was not in Poland to defend his title, but the man with whom he won last year’s Madison crown, Mark Cavendish, was.

Cavendish, however, missed a crucial break early in the men’s scratch race, won in deserved fashion by Frenchman Morgan Kneisky.

It was France’s second gold of the championships, following their victory over Britain in the men’s team sprint on Wednesday.

In the fifth and final event of the day Germany’s Maximilian Levy beat Frenchman Francois Pervis to gold to succeed Hoy as the new keirin king.

Pervis took the silver and Dutchman Teun Mulder the bronze.

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