‘Viva Hollandia’ on the fourth day of WC track cycling: Gold and Bronze26/03/2011
Like a true ambassador of the track cycling World Championships in Apeldoorn, Teun Mulder won the first medal for the Dutch team today. The sprinter on the fourth day of the word title race captured bronze due to a razor-sharp final sprint in the Keirin event. Marianne Vos, also late in the afternoon, crowned his effort by racing to gold in the scratch event. The public in the almost sold out Omnisport Complex spontaneously burst into ‘Viva Hollandia’ as she completed her victory lap.
Vos took suitable revenge against her disappointing points race last Wednesday, which she finished in seventh place. A first attack in the 10 kilometre race was still warded off, but during the second race four others dragged along, however they were unable to respond to the phenomenal final sprint of this Dutch rider.
Teun Mulder is a fixture in the grand finales of the Keirin races. It was the seventh time that he reached the finals. This bronze medal was his fourth prize in the Keirin, after winning gold in 2005, silver in 2008 and bronze the year after that. The spectators in the Omnisport Complex rewarded him with a standing ovation. The rainbow jersey went to Shane Perkins (AUS), while silver went to Sir Chris Hoy, the 2010 World Champion.
The success achieved by Vos and Mulder could very well be repeated tomorrow when the women start day two of the Omnium event. Kirsten Wild will have to overcome several hurdles in this multi-event, but the prospect of a medal is favourable. After three of the six components, the racer leads the dance for a spot on the podium, ahead of former World Champion Tara Whitten from Canada. Wild up till now has collected twelve points in the flying start time trial, the points race and the scratch race, two less than Whitten and the Polish rider Malgorzata Wojtyra. The hot favourite from the United States, Sarah Hammer, is in fourth place with 22 points.
The second to last day of the WC was also marked by a major upset in the sprint race for women. Victoria Pendleton has ruled this discipline since 2007; today this British rider had to swallow a rare defeat in the semi-finals against Anna Meares from Australia, who later became the World Champion. It required three races: Meares won the first race, while Pendleton assured a win for herself in the second race. In both cases it was evident that the rider to start up the sprint from second position would be the fastest. That was the reason for Meares to force the lead position on Pendleton after the start signal for the deciding heat. That cost the Brit a position in the final race, which Meares easily won from Lithuanian rider Simona Krupeckaite.
And to round out the Australian supremacy this Saturday: Michael Freiburg captured the top prize in the Omnium for men. The just 20 year old cyclist scored a total of 34 points, four less than the New Zealander Shane Archbold. Gijs van Hoecke gave the Belgian cycling fans cause for cheering: he received bronze and he achieved this feat just 20 hours after he sustained a heavy fall during the points race.