New Zealand's cyclists were the biggest winners in Beijing this weekend after pocketing their fourth gold medal in the women's team pursuit yesterday at the World Cup Classics' fourth stop.
China posted a best-ever second place finish at the event, one of five legs of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup Classics that wraps up next month in Copenhagen. Russia were third in the gold-medal tally at Laoshan Velodrome.
Host China had more good news in the afternoon session of Day Three when Zhang Lei made an historic breakthrough in the men's sprint.
Zhang, who was eliminated from the round of 16 during the Beijing Games last August, showed dramatic improvement by finishing second behind Frenchman Gregory Bauge yesterday - the best result to date by a Chinese cyclist at a major international competition.
"I'm so excited," he said after the race. "I did not expect to finish so high. I put in the hours after the Olympics and this is a great result."
Meanwhile, Guo Shuang compensated for her poor performance in Friday's women's sprint by grabbing silver in the keirin. Simona Krupeckaite of Lithuania won both events and Dutch entrant Willy Kanis came third in the keirin.
"I'm so happy to win two titles here in Beijing," said Krupeckaite, who finished eighth at the blue-riband event during the Beijing Games. "I did not perform well at the same place (here) last year, but it's OK. I hope I can win more in the future."
(Xinhua News Agency January 19, 2009)