OPENING CEREMONY AND FIRST MEDALS AWARDED TODAY
Great Britain triumphs in team sprint
Germany, France claim gold in team pursuit
Warsaw, Nov. 5 2010 – The European Elite Track Championship officially started tonight in Warsaw with the opening ceremony. A show with lights, fireworks, music and dance numbers Broadway-style introduced the participating teams. One athlete for each of the represented countries rode a lap of the track on their bicycle holding their country’s flag, as fans applauded on the stands of Pruzkow’s BGZ Arena.
The ceremony. The opening ceremony hosted the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Polish Cycling Federation. A video with original images of the 90 years of history of cycling in Poland was broadcast: the picturesque footage showed accomplishments and victories of past and present protagonists of Polish cycling. Starting with black and white images of cycling pioneers and moving on to the historic silver medal Czeslaw Lang won at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, the celebrative mini-movie ended with Maja Wloszczowska’s triumph in the 2010 Mountain Bike World Championship. Lang is now the organizer of Tour de Pologne and of this edition of the European Track Championship.
Poland’s Republic President Bronislav Komorowski awarded a golden cross to Polish cycling “heroes”. Other honours were also handed out by the President of the Polish Cycling Federation as well as the President of Poland’s Olympic Committee Artur Krasnicki. Many champions attended the ceremony, including past glories like Jaksula, Spruch, Piasecki, Baranowski, Brozyna, Wadecki as well as current professional cyclists like Szmyd, Bodnar, Sapa, Marycz, Golas and many others.
The races. A great sports night followed, and the first few medals were awarded in the spectacular team races.
The strong Great Britain national team, already projected towards the London 2012 Olympics, immediately took the lead at the BGZ Arena and conquered the gold medal in the team pursuit races, both with the men and with the women team. Steven Burke, Edward Clancy, Jason Queally and Andrew Tennant preceded the Russia and Netherlands representatives, while Katie Colclough, Wendy Houvenaghel and Laura Trott edged out Lithuania and Germany team rivals.
Germany (Robert Förstemann, Maximilian Levy and Stefan Nimke) got the gold medal in the men team sprint, preceding France and Great Britain. British super champion Chris Hoy thus had to settle for just a bronze medal with his team and was left out of the gold final, due to a small mistake in qualifying that penalized the British trio. “It was a shame not to be able to take part to the final, we could’ve fought for the gold medal,” Hoy said. “But it’s all part of the game, that’s how cycling goes.”
France (Sandie Clair and Clara Sanchez) grabbed the gold medal in the women team sprint, leaving Great Britain in second and Germany in third place.
Tomorrow’s program envisages the individual sprint races as well as the first part of the omnium (multi-branch competition with six different races).
Photos attached, © Lang Team