Taiwanese cyclist Hsiao Mei-yu was last of 18 after the first three events of the women’s omnium at the London Velodrome on Monday, but she was hoping to finish strongly and improve her final ranking.
Hsiao’s coach Hsu Jui-te said that if the cyclist performed at her best in the final three events, she still had a chance of finishing in the top 12 or 13.
The omnium, a decathlon-like event, has racers compete in six different disciplines over two days. Competitors are given points based on their final ranking in each discipline, with one point for first, two points for second and so on. The cyclist with the lowest cumulative points total wins the overall competition.
Hsiao hoped to finish in the top 10 in Monday’s first event, the flying lap 250m time trial, but she ended up a disappointing 11th with a time of 14.662 seconds.
“After seeing the time, I knew I was done,” Hsiao said.
Hsu had set 14.5 seconds as the goal for the cyclist, which would have placed her in the top seven.
Hsiao then finished 17th in one of her weaker events, the 20km points race, where cyclists score points by winning sprints or lapping the field.
“Her performance was already the most aggressive over the past two years,” her coach said.
However, while Hsiao’s low finish in the 20km points race was expected, her 17th place in Monday’s final event, the elimination race, was not.
“I never expected her to be knocked out so quickly. I had hoped she would be among the last six surviving cyclists and improve her overall ranking to about 10th,” Hsu said.
In the elimination race, the pack of cyclists hold a sprint every two laps, with the competitor finishing last knocked out.
Hsiao appeared to be in position to advance early in the race, but two cyclists she was ahead of accelerated to overtake her at the finish line.
“I asked her why she didn’t push harder at the end. She said she was boxed in by two other bikes and would have caused the rider in front of her to fall had she made a charge,” a frustrated Hsu said.
“Hsiao is good at everything. She just needs more of a killer instinct,” the coach added.
Hsiao said she was not discouraged and saw the final three events as a “new start.”
The final three events are a 3km individual pursuit, a 10km scratch race (where the first among the pack of riders to cross the finish line wins) and a 500m time trial.
Hsu said the 3km individual pursuit would be tough for Hsiao.
“The European and American cyclists used to dominate the 3km individual pursuit, but now that the omnium is an Olympic event, they have all turned to this competition,” he said.
Hsiao acknowledged that the pursuit would be one of her weaker events, but she was hoping for a good performance in her strength, the 500m time trial. Her goal was to break the national record of 35.256 seconds held by Huang Ting-ying.