The power is back: Sarah Lee is excited to be competing in front of her Hong Kong fans
2012 London Games bronze medallist feels stronger as she returns to compete in front of her home fans in next week’s big track meeting
Returning to her adoring fans during an Olympic year, Sarah Lee Wai-sze feels the power in her legs is surging as she attempts to do well in the final round of the World Cup track series next week at the Hong Kong Velodrome.
The 2012 London Games bronze medallist feels she has something to prove as she tries to make up for her disappointing outing in the series’ previous round in Cambridge, New Zealand, where she returned empty-handed.
With the Rio de Janeiro Games eight months away, the 28-year-old Lee will want not only to please her fans but to make amends for her previous failures in the series.
“I feel more power [in my legs] as we get closer to the Olympic Games,” said Lee after a hard workout at the Tseung Kwan O facility, where the track World Cup will be held in the city for the first time.
“The Hong Kong leg is an important event leading up to the Rio Games, an event I want to do well. I have mixed feelings as a home rider as I will feel the pressure but also feel excited that I will be riding against top riders from all the world at home.”
Despite the absence of some quality sprinters such as Kristina Vogel of Germany, Anna Meares of Australia and China’s Zhong Tianshi, Lee is expected to battle it out for honours against Guo Shuang of China, Stephanie Morton and Kaarle Mcculloch, both of Australia, Simona Krupeckaite of Lithuania and Russia’s Anastasiia Voinova in the Hong Kong leg, which will be held on January 15-17.
Lee failed to reach the quarter-finals of the women’s sprint in New Zealand, while in the keirin, her medal hope vanished when she collided with South Korean rider Lee Hye-jin in the final lap when Lee was about to dash to the finish.
“I was a bit unlucky in the keirin. I should have won a medal,” she said. “But the result was a good lesson because it taught me that I need to sometimes change my tactics by kicking in the power a bit earlier.
“But I won’t think too much about medals in Hong Kong at this stage. There are many races before reaching the medal podium and all I need to do is to put in the effort race by race.”
In the men’s omnium, Leung Chun-wing said he would be happy if he beats Mark Cavendish of Great Britain in at least one of the six events in the competition.
“He is such a great rider and many of my friends have already said to me what an opportunity it is to be racing against him,” said Leung. “My best event in the omnium is one kilometre and it will be great if I can beat him in this event before asking him for an autograph!”
Leung also hopes to achieve a personal best result in Hong Kong. “My best finish in the omnium is 10th in the World Cup and having trained very hard these past few months, I am looking for a breakthrough in Hong Kong,” he said.
Cheung King-lok will be racing in both the scratch and points race, which are not part of the Olympic track programme, but it will be part of his preparations for the road race in the Rio Games.
Hong Kong has already won a berth in the road race in Rio and it’s likely Cheung, a natural climber, will likely be our representative.