France Sweeps in Cycling Sprints
FRISCO, Texas (AP) _ Erin Veenstra of Colorado Springs, Colo., captured the women’s individual pursuit title, while France’s Laurent Gane and Felicia Ballanger won the men’s and women’s match sprint events during the second day of competition at the EDS World Cup of Cycling today.
For Veenstra, a resident-athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, it marked her first career international victory. A week ago at the World Cup season-opener in Mexico City, Veenstra placed seventh in the 3,000-meter individual pursuit. She looks to improve upon her sixth-place finish in Mexico City in the points race, which will be held on Sunday.
``I was sick during last week’s competition and did not ride my bike until this Thursday,″ said Veenstra, a sixth-place finish at the 1998 world championships in the points race. ``I was not on my bike for four days, but I felt great today.″
Veenstra recorded the second-fastest time in the qualifying round (3:42.493), less than 0.2 seconds behind Sarah Ulmer of New Zealand.
Reigning world individual pursuit champion Antonella Bellutti of Italy failed to finish the race.
Meanwhile, Gane defeated 1996 Olympic silver medalist Marty Nothstein of Trexlertown, Pa., in the finals of the match sprint. The bronze medalist at the 1998 World Track Cycling Championships in Bordeaux, France, Gane swept two consecutive races to defeat Nothstein.
``With World Cups in consecutive weeks, it makes for two long weeks of competition, since I compete in three events. Gane had fresher legs, since he did not compete in Mexico City, and that may have been the difference,″ said Nothstein, winner of three world championship titles.
Nothstein, who finished third in the match sprint and second in the Keirin in Mexico City last week, will compete in the Olympic Sprint and Keirin on Sunday.
In the women’s match sprint, four-time defending world champion Felicia Ballanger swept two successive races from Tanya Dubnicoff of Canada. Dubnicoff captured the sprint at the World Cup opener in Mexico and finished third at the ’98 world championships.
Jennie Reed of Kirkland, Wash., was the lone U.S. entry in the field and finished eighth after placing fourth at last year’s worlds.
In the fourth event of the night, Australia broke its own track record in winning the 4,000-meter team pursuit competition by defeating France in the finals.
The quartet of Graeme Brown, Nigel Grigg, Brett Lancaster, Luke Roberts posted a winning time of 4:10.808, eclipsing their own qualifying time of 4:13.482. The American squad of Adam Laurent (Shell Beach, Calif.), Tommy Mulkey (Winterville, Ga.), Mike Tillman (Lafayette, Calif.) and Christian Vande Velde (LeMont, Ill.) finished third by defeating New Zealand in the bronze medal race.
Sunday’s events include the women’s 500-meter time trial and points race, plus the men’s Keirin, Olympic Sprint, points race and Madison.