UCI Track Cycling World Cup: Great Britain on top
A few weeks before hosting the World Championships in London (March 2-6), Great Britain won the final round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Hong Kong and also came away with the 2015-2016 overall title, succeeding Germany.
Men's Sprint: Constable's first
Despite the participation of most of the world’s top riders, 20-year-old Australian Patrick Constable rode off with the gold medal in the men's sprint. The 2013 Junior Team Sprint World Champion, who was only competing in the third World Cup event of his career, won his first major international elite competition.
Only twelfth in the flying 200 m time trial (10.100), Constable went from strength to strength, notably eliminating the Polish UCI World Cup leader Zielinski in the eighth-finals, Russia's Shurshin in the quarter-finals and reigning Olympic Champion Jason Kenny in the semis.
In the final, Constable came up against another young sprint prospect, China's Chao Xu, 21, also looking for a first major success at elite level.The Australian got the upper hand over his rival in two rides.
"That's a huge win," he said. "I'm very pleased that I could do the work and reach the top step of the podium. I've increased the workload over the last year and I'm glad to see that this is bearing fruit. The qualifying times were really tight so your placing in the time trial didn't count for much."
Jason Kenny beat François Pervis in the battle for third place.
Final Standings: Zielinski holds on
Despite his early exit from the competition on the Hong Kong track, Poland's Damian Zielinski won the overall World Cup title with 277 points. He retained his lead over Australia's Matthew Glaetzer and Germany's Max Niederlag who both finished on 255 points.
Women's Keirin: The return of Krupeckaite
Lithuanian Simona Krupeckaite, 33, is one of the most experienced track riders in the world. A regular on sprint podiums since 2004, she proved in Hong Kong that she is still a force to be reckoned with in 2016.
The 2010 Keirin World Champion, who has not won in the World Cup since 2012, produced a highly impressive performance in the final by taking the lead with two laps to go to eliminate any chance of surprise.
Krupeckaite beat Stéphanie Morton with Hong Kong's Wai Sze Lee third to the delight of the home crowd.
Final Standings: Shuang Go wins again
Her victory in the final round propelled Simona Krupeckaite to the third step of the World Cup podium with 281 points.
But the series was dominated by China's Shuang Guo, already a winner in 2014-2015, who led the way with 367 points to Wai Sze Lee's 330.
Men’s Omnium: Boudat secures win in final event
A few weeks before the World Championships in London and a few months before the Rio Olympic Games, Frenchman Thomas Boudat, Omnium World Champion in 2014, is back in the spotlight. The Direct Energy (formerly Team Europcar) rider finished second behind Kazakhstan's Artyom Zakharov in the points race, the last event of the competition. His fine performance gave him the overall win, seeing off the Olympic Champion, Denmark's Lasse Norman Hansen, by six points (181 points to 175).
Zakharov took third place while Mark Cavendish, making his return to the track, finished fourth. "I'm really pleased," said Cavendish. "I did better than I thought I was going to do. I'd have been happy with a top ten."
Final Standings: Boudat wins
Victory in Hong Kong meant that Thomas Boudat also won the overall World Cup title with 322 points. Lasse Norman Hansen was second (285 points) and Viktor Manakov third (232).
Women's Omnium: It's Trott of course
The British rider Laura Trott competed in two rounds of the World Cup... and won them both. In Hong Kong, the 2012 Olympic champion produced consistent results in all the races and was 18 points clear before the final event, the points race. Ten sprints later, she had retained the same advantage over the American Sarah Hammer, winning by 188 points to 170, with French rider Laurie Berthon third (166 points). The opening laps of the points race turned in to a fierce battle between the British and American rivals.
"After three days of competition [Trott also rode the team pursuit], I was worried how I was going to feel in the points race. But I had a lead and I managed to control it," explained Trott.
Final Standings: Wild's consistency seals it
Highly consistent throughout the season, the Dutch rider Kirsten Wild, eighth in Hong Kong, finished top of the World Cup final standings. Wild was eight points ahead of Laura Trott (308 points to 300), who only competed in two of the three rounds, with Tatsiana Sharakova (Belarus) third.