Five Things Every Cycling Fan Should Know About Today: August 3rd, 2012

5. Confirmed Positive for Russian Keirin Rider Prior to Olympics

The UCI have confirmed a report from Russian media that female Keirin rider Victoria Baranova was prevented from traveling to the London Olympics due to a positive test for male testosterone in a random control in July. Baranova is not a big name in track cycling, with her best performance to date an eighth place in the match sprint at the 2010 world championships. This is a good sign for the UCI and IOC that the only doping affair thus far has come from a rider who was caught ahead of the Olympics, and thus barred from competing.

4. Controversy Abounds at Olympic Track Events

a) The first controversy is the “intentional” fall of Philip Hindes in the Men’s team Sprint for Great Britain, which allowed them to re-start, and ultimately set the world record. GB had gotten off to an imperfect start, and Hindes then fell in the first 50 meters. At first, he said it was intentional and part of a plan, but later backtracked from his earlier statements. Hindes didn’t break any rules in intentionally crashing, though it does bring into question the competitive nature of the games, especially with 8 badminton players throwing matches and being kicked out of the olympics. Some might cry “cheating!” here as well, but for track cycling aficionados, they know he was merely using the existing rules to his advantage. It will have to be seen if anything in the IOC rulebook changes following this year’s Olympics  

b) The women’s events have been filled with controversy as well, thanks in large part to officiating calls that have led to regulations and disqualifications. For a better explanation than I myself, with my limited track cycling and women’s cycling knowledge, here’s a link to a story by cyclingnews:

3. Cofidis Signings; Alessandro Vanotti joins Nibali

Cofidis has made some strong moves in an effort to secure their future, if not in the pro tour level, then at least at the Tour de France. Today they announced that Rein Taaramae re-signed with the team, while young French Tour hopeful Jerome Coppel was lured away from continental team Saur-Sojasun. Coppel aimed for a top 15 overall at this year’s race, but could only manage 21st due to an illness in the third week.

Astana also announced the signing (completely expected) of Nibali’s teammate at Liquigas, Alessandro Vanotti, a 32 year old rider who aided in Nibali’s Tour podium place this year. He is a valuable domestique, though not a rider that will really contribute to the team’s pro tour status.

2. Olympic Track Cycling: Day 2

Men’s Team Pursuit: Great Britain took a second consecutive gold in the race, setting a world record time of 3:51.659 on their way to beating Australia. New Zealand edged Russia for the Bronze. Great Britain’s winning team, made up of Geraint Thomas (likely his final appearance on the track as he transitions to the road), Peter Kennaugh, Ed Clancy, and Steven Burke, took more than a second off the world record they’d set in qualifying earlier in the event.

Women’s Keirin: Home country favorite Victoria Pendleton took the gold medal in 10.965 seconds ahead of Shuang Guo of China, and Wai Sze Lee of Hong Kong.

Women’s Pursuit Qualifying: Great Britain set a new world record in 3:15.669, giving them the pole position going into tomorrow’s heats. The only two teams eliminated today were China and Ukraine. The USA qualified second, and had the olympic record until Great Britain, the final team to go, set the world record, going nearly four full seconds faster than the American squad.

1. Vuelta a Burgos Results

Matti Breschel (Rabobank) took his first win in two years in winning stage three of the Vuelta a Burgos. Breschel outsprinted the young French ace Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat) and Ben Swift (Team Sky) to take the bunch gallop. Daniel Moreno (Katusha) maintained his two-second lead over Sky’s Sergio Henao, with Breschel still in third at 9 seconds back. The top ten overall are separated by a scant 15 seconds.