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Danish rider loosens British grasp at Olympics

Sunday - 8/5/2012, 2:48pm  ET

By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer

LONDON (AP) - Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark finally ended Britain's dominance of the Olympic velodrome.

The home nation won't have long to wait for another shot.

Hansen won the gold medal in the multidiscipline men's omnium Sunday, finishing second in the 1-kilometer time trial to break a tie with Italy's Elia Viviani and France's Bryan Coquard heading into the last event. Coquard held on for silver and Britain's Edward Clancy rallied for bronze.

Britain had won four of the first five track cycling Olympic gold medals.

Jason Kenny will have a chance to get Britain back on track when the former world champion races in the sprint semifinals on Monday. He breezed through the quarterfinals Sunday along with his main rival, current world champion Gregory Bauge of France.

"I'm feeling good. I'm ready for the semifinals," Bauge said. "I'm a bit behind compared to the British athlete as he has the public behind him, but we will see tomorrow."

Victoria Pendleton and Anna Meares also looked strong in their return to the track.

Pendleton, who won gold for Britain in the keirin, qualified first in the women's sprint, and then ripped through her first two match races. Meares, her longtime rival from Australia, qualified just behind her and also had no trouble advancing through the bracket.

Kenny has so far validated the decision by the British coaches to insert him into the sprint rather than Chris Hoy, who beat him for the Olympic title in Beijing. New rules prohibit any nation from fielding more than one rider or team in any track event.

Hoy will be chasing his sixth Olympic gold medal in the keirin on Tuesday.

Kenny cruised into the semifinals by sweeping Azizulhasni Awang of Malaysia in the best-of-three quarterfinals, moments before Bauge brushed aside Germany's Robert Forstemann.

Shane Perkins of Australia and Nijsane Nicholas Phillip of Trinidad and Tobago also advanced.

"I really love the sport. I really want to be good. I want to be recognized by the Australians and British fans," Phillip said. "Trinidad and Tobago is such a small island and I feel like a VIP. Getting this love from this crowd at the Olympics is just a wonderful feeling."

Pendleton opened the defense of her sprint gold medal by breaking her own Olympic record in the 200-meter qualifying time trial. Her time of 10.724 just edged Meares, who clocked 10.805 _ the only two riders in the field of 18 to break the 11-second barrier.

The wily veteran Pendleton easily dispatched 19-year-old Russian Ekaterina Gnidenko in the round of 16, which went off on schedule despite three minor leaks that sprung in the velodrome roof.

Meares saw off Japan's Kayono Maeda with similar ease.

In the round of eight, Pendleton again had no problem in beating Willy Kanis of the Netherlands, only for Meares to blitz past Monique Sullivan of Canada.

They will be joined in Monday's quarterfinals by Guo Shuang of China, Kristina Vogel of Germany, Simona Krupeckaite of Lithuania, Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez of Cuba, Lyubov Shulikov of the Ukraine and Olga Panarina of Belarus.

"The pressure is going to increase the closer you come to the final," said Vogel, who teamed with Miriam Welte to win gold in the team sprint. "If I win tomorrow, I'll be in the semis and that's a very important race, because that race decides whether I'm sure of a medal."

The leaks in the $147 million velodrome were noticed during a period of heavy rain Sunday, but they occured over the infield and no water landed on the pine wood track surface.

A spokeswoman for the venue said repairs would be made overnight.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)