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2012 LONDON OLYMPICS

CYCLING

Brokeback rider heads for Olympic bike sprints

Three years after surviving an horrific accident, German cyclist Kristina Vogel will arrive at the Olympics as the world team sprint champion and record holder.

Brokeback rider heads for Olympic bike sprints
Photo: DPA

Her Melbourne world championship triumph was the 21-year-old’s first taste of glory on the world stage and she will be battling alongside Britain’s Victoria Pendleton and Australia’s Anna Meares for Olympic sprint gold medal in London.

It is all a far cry from April 20, 2009, when she collided with a minibus while riding her bike near her home in Erfurt. Without a cycling helmet, she would probably have been killed.

“A minibus took the right of way and I flew through the windscreen,” Vogel, who was 18 at the time, told AFP.

“I am lucky I am not quadriplegic since I broke the fifth vertebrate in my neck on both sides.

“I also broke my cheekbone, bones in my hand, sustained a lot of deep cuts, especially in the face and lost six teeth in my lower jaw. I was in an artificial coma for two days, spent four weeks in hospital and was strapped to the bed for two and a half of them when I could only lie flat.

“It took three months of rehab and I was off my bike for four months in total.

“But it wasn’t hard for me to get back in the saddle. I couldn’t talk at the time, so I wrote on a piece of paper that my goal was to race at the world championships the following March.

“That was my motivation and challenge.”

Back then, the plucky teenager fulfilled the promise to herself and finished fifth in the individual sprint at the 2010 World Championships in Copenhagen and along with partner Miriam Welte came sixth in the team sprint.

Vogel won the bronze in the keirin at the 2012 championships in Melbourne in April, but it was alongside Welte in the team sprint where the pair shone.

Having set a new world record in qualifying, they lowered their own mark in the final to claim gold in 32.549secs, beating home favourites Kaarle McCulloch and Anna Meares of Australia in the process.

“The title was a surprise for us,” admitted Vogel.

“It has given us a lot of confidence, the world championships have shown Miriam and I that we are up there and it is a good base, especially remembering what it was like to stand on the podium.”

Looking ahead to London, Vogel, a part-time police officer, said she expects the British cyclists to be very strong, especially motivated by their home crowd and an impressive haul of six gold medals from Melbourne.

“Next to the Chinese and Australians, the British are amongst the favourites for the medals,” she said.

“We tend to be outsiders, so with a bit of luck we can hope to reach the small final (for the bronze medal).

“It will be a very difficult competition and it will come down to form on the day.

“The hall will be shaking with the noise and I doubt we will be able to hear our own words.

“That will mean a lot of pressure for us, but I will use that shaking hall as motivation.”

Vogel said Britain’s world sprint champion Victoria Pendleton and Australia’s Meares, the world 500m time-trial champion, are names to watch for.

“Those to watch out for and the ones to count on are Pendleton, Meares, China’s Shuang Guo and Lithuania’s Simona Krupeckaite,” said Vogel.

“Although I think the sprint gold medal will be played out between Meares and Pendleton.”

AFP/hc

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CYCLING

VIDEO: Why you may struggle to buy a bike in Europe in 2021

Demand for bicycles has soared in Europe during the coronavirus pandemic, but conversely the global supply is at record low levels, with consumers having to wait months or over a year for their bike of choice.

VIDEO: Why you may struggle to buy a bike in Europe in 2021
Photo: Stocksnap/Pixabay

Bikes are projected to outsell cars in Europe by two to one by 2030.   

But 2021 will not be an easy year to buy a bike in many European countries, especially if you have a particular model in mind. 

Firstly, there's been a huge surge in demand for bikes during the pandemic, as Europeans looked for ways to stay fit and move around more freely without having to worry about being exposed to Covid-19 on public transport.

On the flip side, bike production in China, which supplies almost the entire global market, has practically ground to a halt.

The same can be said for bicycle accessories and components, which are either not being produced in Chinese factories currently or held up for months in ports in Asia due to the reduction of capacity in shipping.

 

In this short report, video producer Alex Dunham explores the issue of Europe's bike shortage in 2021.

 

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