New style works a treat for Wong

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 February, 2009, 12:00am

Veteran HK rider wins World Cup Classic race

A change of tactics was the key to veteran Wong Kam-po's stunning win in the points race in the Copenhagen leg of the World Cup Classic series, coach Shen Jinkang revealed yesterday.

The victory was the 35-year-old Hong Kong rider's first major international win in an Olympic event and is a huge boost for him as he develops his long-term plan to qualify for the 2012 London Games.

Wong competed in the same event at the Beijing Olympics, but managed only 15th position and Shen claimed the Copenhagen victory had proved Wong still had the quality to compete against the world's best.

'This is the first time Wong has won the points race in a World Cup Classic since he started competitive cycling 15 years ago,' said the delighted coach. 'He completely changed his tactics after the Beijing Games and now he attacks more and is more aggressive on the track.

'In his first World Cup Classic after the Olympic Games, held last month, he started to show signs of a change of style, and now he has reaped the success.'

Wong has won the scratch race in the World Cup Classic events in the past, as well as at the world championships, but the scratch race is not featured in the Olympics.

'Wong has set his sights on the Olympic Games in 2012 and this success will give him a tremendous boost in his preparations for the London event,' said the coach.

The victory lifted Wong to fifth in the overall standings in the five-leg World Cup Classic series despite making only two appearances and he will now be eligible for next month's world championships in Pruszkow, Poland.

'Some may have felt Wong will not have the ability to compete in another Olympics because of his age, but the result in Denmark shows he is now a more mature rider on the track and, with the change of his style, he can make another major breakthrough,' said Shen.

In the 120-lap race, Hong Kong's Kwok Ho-ting and three other riders were the first group to attack, working hard in an attempt to lap the main bunch to gain lap points.

Wong waited until midway through the race before he launched his attack with four others. The Hong Kong rider gained his first sprint points when he was the first to cross the 70-lap mark. The group remained in the leading position until the last 20 laps when Wong made another attack to win the sprint at the 100-lap mark.

Of the 24-rider field, Wong was also the only rider to gain a lap against the main bunch and won the race with 32 points.

Second place went to Marcel Barth of Germany who finished with 12 points, while Milan Kadlec of the Czech Republic came third with 11 points.

Kwok was 19th while another Hong Kong rider, Cheung King-wai, did not finish the race.