- Star rider Sarah Lee will be defending sprint and keirin world titles against powerful rivals from Australia, Russia and Germany
- Hong Kong is also chasing Tokyo 2020 berths in men’s and women’s madison in final round of qualification
While top cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze has the daunting task of defending her two titles against a strong field at the track world championships, which begin in Berlin on Wednesday, the Hong Kong team will be aiming to ensure more teammates join Lee in Tokyo this summer.
The Berlin Worlds mark the end of the 10-round 2020 Olympic qualification period, and the International Cycling Union's rankings list to be published on Monday will help determine the final Olympic fields.
Lee is certain to qualify in the sprint and keirin and will be a serious medal challenger in Tokyo. The men's madison pair of Cheung King-lok and Leung Chun-wing, and the women's pair of Pang Yao and Leung Po-yee, are still fighting for Olympic tickets.
If both pairs qualify, they can each bring an additional berth in the omnium, a combined event on the track akin to the heptathlon in athletics. Likewise, Lee's qualification in the two events that she is defending in Berlin can bring two additional berths for Hong Kong in the same disciplines, and Jessica Lee Hoi-yan, who is competing along with Lee in Berlin, will benefit.
Hong Kong's Sarah Lee Wai-sze clinches double at cycling worlds
"Our target is to send riders in all these six events to the Tokyo Games and it will be known soon if we can make it," said Cycling Association chairman Leung Hung-tak. "They have been training in Europe for almost a month to avoid the coronavirus in Hong Kong. They should be in top form and able to challenge the world's best.
"The women's madison is getting better and better since we changed the combination of the riders, while the men's pair has won in the World Cup series before and both riders have had Olympic experience, though not in madison."
Leung Po-yee has replaced Yang Qianyu in the women's madison and the new pair came fourth in the World Cup Brisbane round in December. They are now 17th in the rankings, with 16 teams to qualify, while the men's are 15th. Men's madison is making a return to the Olympic programme after the last appearance in Beijing 2008, while the women's is making its debut.
Leung Chun-wing represented Hong Kong in the omnium at the 2016 Rio Games when his partner Cheung rode in the individual road race.
Unstoppable Sarah Lee turns attention to Tokyo Olympics
Nearly 400 riders from 46 countries are competing in Berlin, the last big track event before this summer's Olympics.
Lee's biggest rivals in the two sprinting events will come from Australia, Russia and hosts Germany.
Russia's team sprint pair of Daria Shmeleva and Anastasia Voinova, the Rio 2016 silver medallists, will look to regain the top spot on the podium for the first time since 2017 after silver in 2019 and bronze in 2018.
Standing in their way will be defending champions Stephanie Morton and Kaarle McCulloch of Australia, while the young German pair of Pauline Grabosh and Emma Hinze could surprise in front of the home crowd. The pair won the World Cup Hong Kong leg in November. Hong Kong do not qualify for the team sprint, but Lee will face these riders in the individual sprint and keirin.
Young German guns out to upstage Hong Kong's Sarah Lee in own backyard
Other big names to watch include husband-and-wife Olympic champions Jason Kenny and Laura Kenny of Great Britain, Germany's two-time madison world champions Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt and six-time world champion Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands. The 37-year-old Dutchwoman is the two-time defending champion in the omnium. She will be heavily favoured to win that event again, having also clinched both titles at the 2019 European Championships and European Games.
Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.查看原始文章