Sir Chris back to gold standard at World Championships, but Australia finish top of medals table
Sunday, 08 April 2012
April 8 - Sir Chris Hoy got himself back onto the gold standard at the World Track Cycling Championships in Melbourne as he won the keirin event with a characteristically bold final flourish.
Sir Chris, whose chances of defending his Olympic title in the individual sprint this summer are in the balance after he could only take bronze here – with team-mate Jason Kenny earning silver – recovered his full competitive drive in winning the world keirin title for a fourth time.
It was his 11th world title.
Sir Chris's victory took Britain's total of golds to six, equalling the hosts, who finished with a flourish as Anna Meares broke her second world record of the Championships in winning the 500m time trial in 33.010sec to add a second gold following her keirin victory on the previous evening.
Australia finished top of the overall table with six golds, six silvers and three bronzes, with Britain totalling six golds, four silver and three bronzes.
But Britain did best in the Olympic events, winning five out of 10.
Sir Chris timed his push for the line, beating Germany's Max Levy by inches, with Kenny taking bronze.
"I had hesitated and waited too long to go," Sir Chris admitted.
"I had lost momentum and killed my run and, with half a lap to go, it was looking pretty bleak but I knew the three riders in front were going to fan out for a blanket finish and there was perhaps just a little chance to flick up the inside.
"It was last-chance saloon so that's what I did.
"The door opened and I just kept sprinting.
"It's the first time I've ever done that in competition.
"It's just a reminder that you never say die in bike racing, you never stop riding because strange things happen.
"If that is going to be my last ever World Championships race – and it might be – that's the way to go.
"Mind you, it took a little while for it to sink in afterwards, to take in that I actually did that.
"I was in the right frame of mind today and determined to make up for slight disappointment of Saturday.
"The one good thing on Saturday was that I finished with my best ride of the day to beat Shane Perkins and take the bronze.
"It was just a little glimmer that my form was still there.
"I had been up against guys who were in the form of their lives and I was just a little bit off my best.
"But I was very keen to bounce straight back, that's what champions must do.
"You question yourself when it doesn't always go right.
"I was frustrated at myself in the sprint and I wanted to make amends.
"The real question is why did that happen, how are we going to fix that and what are we going to do between now and London to make sure I am absolutely 100 per cent?
"I'm having four days off now but then we will have the debrief."
Elsewhere, Britain's Wendy Houvenaghel (pictured) – frustrated at having been left out of the team pursuit line-up that secured two world records and the gold earlier in the Championship, won silver in the women's pursuit and Jess Varnish won bronze in the women's 500m time trial.
Ben Swift and Geraint Thomas took silver in the Madison behind Belgium's Kenny De Ketele and Gijs Van Hoecke.
"We're very satisfied," Britain's head coach Shane Sutton said.
"But there's a big job still to do."
April 2012: Defeat jeopardises Hoy's London 2012 sprint title hopes while smiling Trott takes omnium gold
April 2012: Battered, bruised and emotional Pendleton takes "most significant" world cycling title
April 2012: Two world records and one world gold in a day for Britain's female team pursuit cyclists
April 2012: GB men cyclists deliver "kick in the guts" to Australia with world team pursuit record
February 2012: Olympic chance for Hindes as Brailsford gets ruthless in London 2012 build-up