The Men’s 1 km time trial – the Kilo, for short – was Sir Chris Hoy’s speciality in the first part of his illustrious career. It could hardly be simpler or more irresistible: one rider, one kilometre, one minute, or thereabouts. In Sir Chris's wonderful velodrome, it was a fabulous competition.
The first serious time was posted by Korea’s Jeahee Jung: 1:04.842. It stood for fourteen heats: the very good Mexican sprinter José Manuel Valdez, a first-year Junior, beat Jung’s splits until the 500m split, but faded to 1:05.829. Then Thomas Coppini (FRA) stepped up with a ride of 1:04.134, and took over the lead. Johannes Keuchel (GER) beat HIS splits as far as the halfway point, only to fade, too, and finish in 1:05.247.
New Zealand’s Alex Hooper moved temporarily into the bronze medal position, in the heat before the European silver medallist Maximilion Dornbach (GER). The German’s performance was simply breath-taking! His time of 1:03.129 was no less than 1.005 seconds better than Coppini’s earlier best time.
The Malaysian sprinter Muhammad Mohd finished outside the medals, but put in a ride worth mentioning: his 1:05.092 left him provisionally in fourth place.
Then came the European champion Aleksandr Dubchenko (RUS). He rode faster than leader Dornbach (GER) at every split until 750 metres. Then he, too, slowed to 2nd at 1:03.227.
The last rider to start was last night’s Men’s Individual Pursuit gold medallist Zachary Shaw (AUS). He started slowly but improved throughout, seizing, in the final metres, the bronze medal with a time of 1:03.288. It was an astonishing performance for a rider of his physique. What a talent he is! And what an impressive medal podium: two monstrously good sprinters, and an endurance rider who got to within 0.15 seconds of them.
In the quarter-finals of the Women’s Sprint, Danielle Khan (GBR), Nicky Degrendele (BEL), and Yeonhee Jang (KOR) all won their respective first-of-three heats by leading from start to finish and holding off their opponents. The final heat, Tatiana Kiseleva (RUS)-Mélissandre Pain (FRA), was more interesting, Pain darting past in the final metres. A photograph was required to separate the two girls. No Heat Three was required in any of the four ties: second time round, each race followed the opposite pattern: Khan, Degrendel and Jang all won by outsprinting their opponents in the final few metres, while Pain held off Kiseleve (RUS) from the front.
Next came two wonderful Women’s Individual Pursuit finals. In the bronze medal play off, Talbot (AUS) rode the first half faster than Parra (COL). The Colombian came back and took the lead for the third quarter, before Talbot, celebrating her seventeenth birthday, accelerated to victory and the third step of the podium.
The gold medal race was even closer. Mozharova (RUS) led for the first couple of laps, then Perry (AUS) took the lead, then the Russian fought back, only for Perry to pull away and take the win and the gold medal in the fastest time of the day: 2:27.156.
The Men’s Points race saw an absolutely dominant performance by Benjamin Thomas (FRA). He took one point in the first two sprints, then won all five points in the third sprint, then he managed to get into the right attack, won the fourth sprint from his seven man breakaway group, and subsequently lapped the field with his six companions. Having rejoined the peloton with his one-lap advantage, he won the sixth sprint, and picked up another couple of points in the eighth. The Frenchman showed strength and race-craft in equal measure.
A word for Colombia’s Juan Felipe Osorio, who had the misfortune to launch that lap-gaining seven-man attack with an attack that left him riding alone at the front for ten laps, before the other riders came across to him. For much of the race he lay in silver or bronze position, only to miss out on a medal in the final sprint of the race.
The Argentine Crisafulli (ARG) suffered a reversal of fortune in the same sprint. By crossing the finish line second, he appeared to have moved into a medal position, but he was then relegated for an irregularity, and lost his place among the top three.
Thomas's brilliant display brought him the gold medal by the enormous margin of twelve points. Aitcheson (NZl) took the silver medal, and Oliveira (POR) took bronze.
The evening ended with the third event of the Men’s Omnium: the Elimination Race or Devil Take the Hindmost. After nine riders had been eliminated, the race was held up by a crash involving Kim (KOR), Tsishchanka (BLR) and Salie (RSA). All three rejoined the race, only to be eliminated in quick succession. Then Colombia’s quintuple Pan-American Games gold medallist, Eduardo Estrada, nicely positioned among the leaders, was disqualified from the competition for overtaking on the inside of the track.
The final three riders on the track were Edwards (AUS), Jurczyk (GER) and De Vylder (BEL). An acceleration by the Australian, with Jurczyk on his wheel, dispatched De Vylder. Then Edwards and Jurczyk rode the final couple of laps like a track sprint, which the German won with an irresistible sprint.
The result left Edwards and Denmark's Pedersen equal on 11 points at the top of the provisional Omnium standings. They lead the strong German, Jurczyk, by seven points. With three more events to ride tomorrow, it's already an enthralling competition.