Riding high: Cyclist Leung Chun-wing secures another Olympic Games berth for Hong Kong at world championships
Hong Kong secured another Olympic cycling berth as Leung Chun-wing finished 12th in the men’s omnium at the track world championships in London on Saturday, despite crashing in one of the event’s disciplines.
With 20 riders in the field at Lee Valley Velopark it was at best a modest result but enough to keep Hong Kong in the top 18 of the national rankings through this final stage of the 10-round qualification series.
There will be 18 riders in Rio, one from each country and Hong Kong were ranked 15th before the world event
Coach Shen Jinkang said Leung had made great progress in the omnium, especially in the three events against the clock – pursuit, time trial and flying lap – and there was still room for improvement.
“He suffered a crash with the Korean rider in the points race but was still able to hang in there,” said the coach. “His overall ability has also been raised and reached our expectations.”
At 22, Leung is the most promising rider in Hong Kong, having also secured the road race berth for the Rio Games. However, reigning Asian champion Cheung King-lok is likely to race for Hong Kong at the Olympics. Leung was also a former world junior champion in the points race.
Top rider Sarah Lee Wai-sze should have no difficulty making both the keirin and sprint in Rio, while Diao Xiaojuan, who stands 16th after the first three events in the women’s omnium, also has a great chance of keeping Hong Kong in the top 18.
The men’s omnium was one of the most closely contested races at the world championships, with three riders tied at 191 points after six events and two days of racing. Fernando Gaviria of Colombia, who crossed the line first among the trio at the end of the points race, the last event, successfully defended his title, followed by Roger Kluge of Germany and Australian Glenn O’Shea.
Mark Cavendish, trying to impress the selectors and earn selection to represent Britain in Rio, finished sixth.