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Thu Apr 24 08:54:33 SAST 2014

Hoy powers home in World Cup keirin final

Julien Pretot, Reuters | 19 February, 2012 11:590 Comments
Sir Chris Hoy of Great Britain celebrates victory in Men's Keirin during the UCI Track Cycling World Cup - LOCOG Test Event for London 2012 at the Olympic Velodrome on February 18, 2012 in London, England
Image by: Mike Hewitt / Getty Images

Chris Hoy laid down a strong marker for the 2012 Olympics when he outclassed his rivals to win the keirin final as Britain claimed two more gold medals at the London track World Cup series on Saturday.

The Briton, a triple keirin world gold medallist and the Olympic champion, powered past second-placed German Rene Enders and third-placed Frenchman Mickael Bourgain to trigger the loudest roars heard at the velodrome to date.     

Hoy, a four-times Olympic champion, started out by marking Bourgain who performed impressively in his semi-final.     

That let Enders and Dutchman Teun Mulder, the 2005 keirin world champion, gain significant ground on the last lap.     

But Hoy’s acceleration produced power that none of the others could match as he pipped Enders to the line, flexing his biceps in celebration and waving to the crowd on his lap of honour.     

“It doesn’t feel like a World Cup, it feels like a more significant race than that,” a beaming Hoy told reporters.     

“A sports science guy said I hit 71,8-kms an hour which is about the fastest I’ve ever gone in the keirin. Can’t ask for more than that.”               

    RANDOM KEIRIN     

Bourgain, however, believes Hoy can be beaten. Asked if he could beat the Briton, he shrugged his shoulders and said: “It’s the keirin — which is pretty random”.     

Hoy was defeated at last year’s world championships by Australian Shane Perkins who was not in London for the test event but is set to take part in the Olympics which start on July 27.     

The Union Jacks flew high again when Joanna Rowsell, who smashed the world record to win the team pursuit on Friday, led from the start in the individual pursuit to win gold at the expense of World Cup leader Alison Shanks of New Zealand.     

“It’s awesome. The crowd is amazing. It spurred me on,” she said.     

The home crowd’s joy was tempered when Victoria Pendleton, who on Friday won the team sprint in world record time with Jessica Varnish, failed to make it to the podium in the individual sprint.     

Pendleton, the Olympic gold medallist, was drawn with world champion Anna Meares in the best of three race semi-finals and the duel went in favour of the Australian.     

Meares took the first race before Pendleton hit back in the second. But the Briton had no answer to her rival’s acceleration at the bell in the third as she snatched a place in the final.     

The Australian was then beaten 2-0 by Chinese Guo Shuang in the final.        

Colombian Juan Esteban Arango won the omnium.    

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