While we haven’t seen all the events in this year’s European track championships, it was quite clear though that this year’s event was a resounding success. It was a magnificent show of athleticism and sportsmanship including what is possibly Chris Hoy’s biggest blunder in his career. The Europeans are really dominating in this sport and next year’s Worlds will be truly interesting. It was nice to see some track cyclists developing quite nicely with massive improvements in the past few years. Moreover the new Omnium format looks like an interesting one and will hopefully make up for the drastic changes made to the track cycling event format in the upcoming Olympics. It’s beginning to be very clear though that the strongest nations in this sport are Germany, France, Great Britain, Australia and the Netherlands. Definitely the teams to look out for in next year’s Worlds as well as in the 2012 Olympics.
Now, just some thoughts (Anna’s take on the whole Chris Hoy thing), I might be a bit paranoid but the media knows how to take care of Chris Hoy. Is it because he IS the SIR Chris Hoy? Maybe. Here’s the thing, when the debacle at Day 2 happened, you know when Chris Hoy lost, it came as a shock to everyone. The name of Felix English was suddenly attached to Chris Hoy in a way that Hoy will have nightmares for months to come. The reaction of the press was quite warm. In the end, Chris Hoy admitted this was his fault and definitely wasn’t even a tactical error “When you are up against an opponent over a second slower than you, then in the first round the objective is to get through with as minimal effort as possible. You’re trying to do it as clinical as possible, be safe but don’t waste any energy.” His response was surprisingly technical as if he was trying to make the best possible excuse ever. Is this a sign of arrogance? He also continues “Also, you don’t you want to rub it in to your opponent. If you blast it and win by 50 metres, it doesn’t look good but at the same time you need to make sure you win the race. Fair play to the guy. He raced his best race. I went with a lap to go, opened up a reasonable gap and looked around and I thought he’d sat up.” Does this reply have something to do with the respect thing a track cyclist must have with his opponent in a match sprint or is this another sign of arrogance? I’ve observed a lot of Chris Hoy’s matches and you can’t see him do this often. He was clearly being arrogant this time and he had to pay the price for it. Good thing though he indirectly admitted this during the post race interviews. Read the articles regarding the event and you’ll find the reaction of the press was quite… warm. There were some few harsh words there but generally kind and welcoming. If you guys remember a few moons ago when Foerstemann beat Hoy, the press went wild with what they consider as Foerstemann being disrespectful and not following protocol. Hoy’s coach even lambasted him for it. Some of the media outlets tore Foerstemann to pieces. Now I’m not implying anything, ok maybe I am, but had this been another person, say Mark Cavendish, the press would tear him to pieces over this silly but arrogant mistake. Probably this is one of the perks of being knighted huh? Sounds pretty nifty to me. (Rant over)
Here’s some of the highlights of the events. Photo credits: LangTeam, Cycling Weekly, and Larry Hickmont. Full Results HERE.