Everson retains her time trial title

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The Independent Online
Cycling

Wolverhampton's Wendy Everson retained her women's 500m time trial title yesterday when, in a repeat of last year's final, she once again beat her South Wales rival Megan Hughes in the national track championships at Manchester.

Everson was almost half a second outside her time of a year ago in 37.651sec but managed to beat the Cwmcarn Paragon rider by three-quarters of a second.

Earlier the world champion, Graeme Obree, making his first competitive appearance of the season on British soil, qualified fastest in the time trial round of the open 4,000m pursuit.

After a hesitant start on his new carbon fibre machine, the 30-year-old Scot got into his stride to clock 4min 28.440sec, six seconds outside his own championship record but almost four seconds too fast for Nottingham's Bryan Steel.

Steel led Obree by 1.6sec after the first of 16 laps, but Obree had whittled the gap down to less than a second after two laps and edged in front on the next.

On Saturday Rob Hayles, a gold medal winner in the madison and omnium events last year, collected his first open 40-kilometre points race title. Pre-race favourite Hayles, from Portsmouth, led a Team Ambrosia one-two when he gained 32 points to his London team-mate Russell Williams's 27. Middlesbrough's Phil West, last year's junior champion, took the bronze medal.

As Hayles and Williams controlled affairs, no breakaway managed to gain more than half a lap on the field.

Meanwhile another defending champion, Steve Paulding, was only the second fastest qualifier in the time-trial round of the open sprint, pipped by last year's bronze medallist - Lancashire's Craig Percival

Yvonne McGregor, who had qualified in a British and championship record, coasted through the quarter-final of the women's 3,000m pursuit when, despite slipping back almost two seconds, she caught her rival Emma Harding before the full distance.

n Mario Cipollini nearly paid the price for over-confidence on the Tour of Italy yesterday. The sprint specialist raised his arms in victory a metre from the line despite the proximity of Fabrizio Guidi and Giovanni Lombardi, but just held on to win the 135km eighth stage from Polla to Naples by a few centimetres. His compatriot, Davide Rebellin, maintained his overnight overall lead of four seconds over Russia's Pavel Tonkov.

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