Roundup: France, Denmark, China, Netherlands win golds at UCI Track Nations Cup

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CAIRO, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Track cycling teams from France, Denmark, China and the Netherlands won gold medals on Wednesday evening in women's and men's team pursuit and team sprint at the 2023 International Cycling Union (UCI) Track Nations Cup in Cairo.

In the 4,000-meter women's team pursuit race between France and New Zealand, France's four-rider squad of Clara Copponi, Valentine Fortin, Marion Borras and Marie le Net managed to finish in 4:13.820 and snatch gold, while New Zealanders Bryony Botha, Ally Wollaston, Saman Donnelly and Emily Shearman came next in 4:15.00 to earn silver.

"It's our first gold medal. We've had a good time and we're so happy with these results," Copponi told Xinhua, adding that the event is important as it paves the way for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

"It's important for us to be ready and in good shape for the Olympics," she said.

In the race for bronze in the women's team pursuit, the German team clocked 4:18.324 and earned a place on the podium, defeating their Irish opponents who came fourth in 4:23.238.

Later in the men's team pursuit race for gold, the Danish squad of Tobias Hansen, Carl-Frederik Bevort, Rasmus Pedersen and Robin Skivild finished in 3:52.312 and decisively won over the French team of Thomas Denis, Quentin Lafargue, Corentin Ermenault and Valentin Tabellion who finished almost a second later, in 3:53.229.

"It's certainly very nice to achieve gold because it is part of the Olympic qualifications. So, now we're pretty sure to qualify for the Olympics. That's for sure the biggest goal," Bevort said.

He added that it was a bit different to race in Cairo's half-opened velodrome because of the weather and the wind, but his team overcame it with more training.

The men's team pursuit bronze medal was earned by Germany whose track cyclists finished in 3:58.087, ahead of New Zealand's four men who made it in 3:58.627.

Germany thus took bronze in both men's and women's team pursuit races.

As for the women's team sprint battle for gold, China won over Germany in a thrilling competition.

China's trio of Bao Shanju, Yuan Liying and Guo Yufang finished their three laps around the 250-meter velodrome in 47.676 seconds, while Germany's squad of Pauline Sophie Grabosch, Emma Hinze and Lea Sophie Friedrich came second in 47.912 seconds.

"For sure winning the gold medal in this race will definitely push our confidence in future races, for the whole team," Yuan told Xinhua.

Like other cyclists, Yuan said that the result could have been better if the venue was completely covered, noting the wind is an influencing factor.

"It could have been better, but we're happy with the result today," she added.

In the race for bronze, France's team finished in 47.999 seconds and secured the final place on the podium at the expense of their British opponents who finished in 48.027 seconds.

The men's team sprint final race for gold between the Netherlands and France was dominated by the Dutch.

The Netherlands three-man squad of Roy van den Berg, Harrie Lavreysen and Jeffrey Hoogland finished in 42.641 seconds while their French competitors Sebastien Vigier, Timmy Gillion and Rayan Helal made it in 43.887 seconds.

The Dutch already master the men's sprint team competitions, as they made a world record of 41.225 seconds at the UCI track cycling World Championship in Berlin in Feb. 2020.

The bronze of men's team sprint race in Cairo 2023 was won by Japan whose trio finished in 43.361 seconds, followed by China's team who finished in 44.152 seconds.

The exciting women's elimination 24-rider race was won by American track cyclist Jennifer Valente, the Tokyo 2020 women's omnium champion, while the men's elimination race was dominated by Britain's William Tidball.

Running from March 14 to 17, UCI Track Nations Cup Cairo 2023 is a chance for participating athletes to progress in their bid to earn spots at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The Cairo event, which gathers more than 400 track cyclists from over 50 countries and regions, is the second of the three rounds of the 2023 UCI Track Nations Cup. The first was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, in February, and the third will be held in Milton, Canada, in April. Enditem

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