Sarah Lee Wai-sze

Sarah Lee avoids crash and wraps up Track World Cup stop with keirin bronze; completes two-medal haul after sprint gold

  • Hong Kong ace claims bronze to add to earlier gold medal in Paris
  • Series moves on to Canada this week
  • World champion Degrendele taken to hospital after heavy crash in race
PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 October, 2018, 11:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 October, 2018, 11:11pm

Sarah Lee Wai-sze avoided a crash in the last few metres of the race to wrap up a successful opening leg of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup series after clinching a bronze medal in the women’s keirin in Paris.

At the world class Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome, the 31-year-old captured her second medal after a gold in the sprint in the opening event of the season which also served as the first qualification event in the campaign leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

But the London Games bronze medallist was lucky not to have clipped the bike of Belgium’s world champion Nicky Degrendele who was sent to hospital after crashing heavily close to the finish of the race.

Degrendele tried to slip past Lee and Russia’s Daria Shmeleva but instead crashed, sending her bike and herself sprawling across the floor.

Lee and Shmeleva swerved slightly to avoid making contact with Degrendele who was taken on a stretcher to hospital after the six-rider final.

In the discipline that she also claimed a bronze at the World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands earlier this year, Lee proved she is still a strong favourite in sprinting events for Tokyo.

Watch: Sarah Lee claims bronze in Paris (skip to 2:53.20 for keirin final)

Hong Kong’s star rider stormed into the keirin final after winning both of the first two rounds but failed to continue her momentum in last encounter which was won by Laurine van Riessen of the Netherlands. Shmeleva of Russia, who came third in the sprint, was second.

Lee said she was slightly rushed in the final as she struggled with the pace but accepted third place was not a bad result.

She said she went to Paris with the target of clocking a good time in the sprint qualifiers but managed only second place. She will try again in the next world cup series event in Milton, Canada later this week.

The series culminates in a sixth and final leg held in Hong Kong at the end of January 2019.

“I have never been to Canada before and have some expectations for this, the second round of the season,” she posted on Facebook.

Lee completed the 200-metre sprint qualifier in 10.6 seconds, just behind Stephanie Morton of Australia, who set a time of 10.516.

Lee recorded 10.583 at the Asian Games in Indonesia two months ago.

The world record stands at 10.384 by Kristina Vogel, the reigning sprint Olympic champion, who was forced to retire four months ago after a crash in training in June left the German rider paralysed.