Work load proves too much as Wong flops in madison race
Hong Kong's Wong Kam-po succumbed to weariness and was eliminated in the qualifying heat of the 20km madison at the World Cup Classic yesterday.
Competing in his fifth race in three days at Loshan Velodrome, the 34-year-old and his partner, Kwok Ho-ting, 19, were unable to match the scorching pace of some of the world's top track riders. The Hong Kong pair were lapped three times within 35 laps and retired from the 80-lap race.
'The Beijing event is the most competitive World Cup Classic I have seen,' Hong Kong coach Shen Jinkang said at the conclusion of the three-day Olympic test event. 'With 2008 Olympic qualifying points on offer and the opportunity to test the Beijing Games venue, all top track riders who intend to come for the Olympic Games in August were competing here.'
Shen was still satisfied with Wong's overall performance.
'Our prime target is to secure Olympic qualifying points and we have done so through Wong's sixth place in the points race. Not only has he earned over 100 qualifying points, he also proved his ability to compete against the world's best in the points race,' said Shen.
With a tough qualifying campaign still ahead, Shen will put Wong in a series of track competitions in Australia before the World Cup Classic in Los Angeles next month.
The decision means Wong (pictured) is unlikely to join his Hong Kong road-racing teammates for the Tour of South China Sea, which starts in two weeks.
Shen said Hong Kong desperately needed to identify and nurture new talent.
'The velodrome [in Beijing] is great and will provide a platform for China to further develop track cycling in the next 10 or 15 years. In Hong Kong, we will have a similar HK$200 million venue in Tseung Kwan O in 2012, but by that time Wong will certainly have retired,' said the coach.
'So far there is no plan to develop track cycling at elite level. We need a sound development programme so we can have more Wong Kam-pos coming through ... or the new facility will just become another white elephant.'
Pushed too far
The number of races Wong Kam-po faced in three days in his chase for Olympic qualifying points: 5