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UCI Track Cycling World Championships: Stars are born in Minsk




They are young, they are British or German, and they have in common a taste for speed and, since this Sunday, the fact that they have won two gold medals in the 2013 UCI Track World Championships in Minsk. Including the American Sarah Hammer, who convincingly won the Omnium on the last day of what turned out to be an excellent event from a technical point of view, Rebecca James and Stefan Botticher have been this week’s main attractions.

Botticher: a student of Michael Hubner
With his remarkable individual skills, and an exceptional mentor such as former World Champion Michael Hubner, Stefan Botticher had everything he needed to succeed. Already winner of the team event, at 21 years of age he managed to add a prestigious double achievement to his career by defeating Russia’s Denis Dmitriev in two rounds in the individual final. The bronze medal in this discipline was won by the Frenchman François Pervis, who grabbed his first world title in the kilometre race.

Hammer always at the top
Only one athlete entered the competition, but two gold medals were obtained: the American team’s good results mirror those of Sarah Hammer, who – at 30 years of age – succeeded in taking two new world titles in Minsk. She was victorious in the individual sprint during the opening day and in the Omnium, beating Laura Trott, who had defeated her at the London Olympics, and Annette Edmondson.

“La Madison, s’il vous plaît!”
The European teams took a firm hold on the podium of the Madison: over the 50 kilometres of the race which elicited the enthusiasm of an audience as large as ever in the velodrome of the capital city of Belarus, France’s Vivien Brisse and Morgan Kneisky (2009 Scratch World Champion) came in front of Spain’s David Muntaner Juaneda and Albert Torres Barcelo and Germany’s Henning Bommel and Theo Reinhardt.

The last one destined for James
The last image of the 2013 UCI Track Cycling World Championships will have been that of Rebecca James, smiling on the highest step of the podium after the Keirin, surrounded by China’s Jinjie Gong and Cuba’s Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez. For the young woman from Wales, this being her third personal medal after gold in the individual sprint and bronze in the team event, these World Championships will probably only be the first stage of a long and fruitful career in the discipline of sprint.

In Minsk, track cycling may have found its new leading lady for the years to come.

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