France’s Bauge captures men’s cycling sprint world title

PRUSZKOW, Poland — Gregory Bauge of France beat Azizulhasni Awang of Malaysia to capture the men’s individual sprint title and pick up the final gold medal on the closing day of the track world championships on Sunday.

Bauge’s victory capped a dominant sprint performance by the French. Teammate Kevin Sireau won bronze in the individual sprint and earlier in the week the French beat rival Britain for the team sprint title.

Also Sunday, Guo Shuang of China won the women’s keirin, Giorgia Bronzini of Italy outlasted the field to win the women’s points race and Leigh Howard of Australia took the men’s omnium gold.

In the first race of the men’s sprint final, Bauge edged Awang in a photo finish to win the heat before Awang stole the second to force a deciding race.

Awang failed to build up enough speed entering the final sprint of the third race, and the powerful Bauge and easily raced across the line ahead of the Malaysian to win his first individual sprint crown.

“I made a mistake in the last ride and got no speed at the end,” Awang said. “But I’m still happy with the silver medal.”

Guo, the keirin bronze medalist at the Beijing Olympics, surged past Clara Sanchez of France and Willy Kanis of the Netherlands on the final stretch to capture her first world keirin title.

“I’m surprised because before the race I didn’t think I could win,” said Guo, who took silver in the keirin at the 2007 worlds and bronze in Beijing. “I think over four or five years I’ve improved my tactics and physical training.”

Sanchez, the 2006 silver medalist, finished second, while Kanis picked up a bronze to go along with the silver she won Saturday in the individual sprint.

In a women’s points race that included two crashes, Bronzini held on to win her first world title in the event.

Yumari Gonzalez Valdivieso of Cuba, who won the scratch earlier this week, took the silver medal, while Britain’s Elizabeth Armitstead picked up the bronze.

Howard, meanwhile, added to the silver he won Saturday in the madison by taking home the gold in the men’s omnium— a kind of cycling pentathlon held over a single day that includes two time trials, a scratch race, individual pursuit and a points race.

“I only just decided last night that I was definitely riding,” said Howard, who was the 2008 omnium runner-up. “I was very fatigued … but I’ll tell you now I wasn’t going to get another silver medal. I was pretty determined to get a gold today, so I’m extremely happy with how the performance went.”

The Australian finished with 19 points, while Zachary Bell of Canada took the silver two points back, and Tim Veldt of the Netherlands won the final two events — the points race and 1-kilometer time-trial — to claim the bronze. U.S. rider Taylor Phinney finished sixth.

The win capped a strong week for Australia, which topped the medal table with 10, including four golds. France took home six medals, with three of them gold.

Britain, which cleaned up at the 2008 worlds and Beijing Olympics, took home nine medals. Led by Victoria Pendleton, the British women won seven medals, but the men, missing Olympic champions Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins, managed only one silver and a bronze.

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