World Points Race Championship (France)
Mens Points Race
Great Britain was represented by Chris Newton in this event and after making light work of qualifying, hopes were high Chris could repeat his medal winning ride from the Sydney World Cup and come away with a World Championship medal to go with his World title in 2002.
It didn't happen unfortunately in a race where for the first time in a long time, no one could escape the field and it was decided on sprints. In the early stages, Chris was keeping himself near the front and getting amongst them in the points before going to the back of the string and saving his legs for the second half of the race where the pace usually starts to lift and the cracks in the race begin to appear.
Whilst Chris was ducking and diving having been on top of the leader board early on, the sprints continued to inspire attacks from the field and the Dutchman Peter Schep went for a long one, staying out front for ages and picking up valuable points. He was however eventually reeled in and the race continued to be a series of sprints with the attacks that were getting away, seemingly having no-one committed in them to make them stick and they all came back.
As the race moved in to the second half, Chris was noticeable in making the odd move off the front, getting away with the Italian at one point, and then later on, as Llaneras started to get away having ridden a lo of riders off his wheel, Chris chased him down but again, as soon as the junction was made, the move stopped everyone in their tracks despite the field starting to fragment behind.
Knowing nothing was getting away, Chris started to contest more and more of the sprints and with 60 to go, won 5 points to put his name back among the leaders. He chased points in other sprints to follow, getting the odd point but time was running out and it was right on the line at the finish that he picked up a solitary point after closing a large to gap to four leaders with a last gasp chase but it was only to be good enough for fourth place. A win or seven second would have been enough to get him into the medals but alas, it was fourth again for the former World champion.
Afterwards, Chris was happy enough with the ride as he explained his strategy for the race. "I just thought I would race for the first few sprints and I didn't go like flat out, trying to be a bit cagey. I expected to be hitting it with say 60 or 70 laps to go and I was waiting for that a little bit. So I stopped scoring for a while and then later, I was trying to get away. I didn't want to follow Llaneras so I was waiting for him to finish his move before I'd have a go and try and soften it up a little bit. But nothing went and then I was missing the sprints when trying to get a move going."
Asked if having just been away at the Commonwealth Games affected his form, he replied "It is an endurance event and to be in Melbourne for so long and come here, here was no way of fitting all the endurance training I needed in during the week I was back in England so I had to concentrate on the sprinting a little bit but then you're not getting the training to recover from the sprints so I did have to ride it cagey."
"I'm pleased with the way I rode it, but it is disappointing to be fourth again. That's the third time in the Worlds I have been fourth since I won it and although I'm always up there, its getting a bit elusive."
Peter Schep (Netherlands) 31 pts
Mens Points (Qualifying)
Following the Women's Pursuit, it was the turn of the Men's endurance riders to ride in the qualifying heats of the Points race. Great Britain had qualified one rider for the event and that was the 2002 World Points Race Champion, Chris Newton. Chris lined up in Heat 1, with Olympic Champion Mikhail Ignatiev Alexander Aeschbach, and Martin Blaha among others.
The race didn't take long to get going when a Japanese rider attacked early on to be followed a two more riders but nothing was escaping just yet and Chris, having followed the right wheels in the bunch, came through and took maximum points in the first sprint. He carried on ducking and diving to finish in the points for the next sprint to give him enough to carry him through to the final. From there he did his best to stay out of trouble and at the finish found himself in 4th place and through to the final.
Afterwards he was pleased with everything adding that it had been a bit dangerous with some of the riders turning right on the steep bankings leaving riders with nowhere to go.