Records tumble along with attendance

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The Independent Online


reports from Manchester

Records tumbled in the World Cup at Manchester velodrome but, to the chagrin of the organisers, the attendance record was never under pressure.

With France beating Italy by eight points in a meeting of 28 nations, track records fell regularly throughout the three days, but the 3,500- seater stadium, Britain's first covered track, was never full. Riders including Olympic and world champions outnumbered the spectators at some sessions.

"This meeting is second only to the World Championships," Brian Cossavella, the World Cup promoter, said, "but the total attendance for three days might have just filled the stadium. It is worrying, but you just have to keep plugging away."

This was his fifth promotion at the track since it opened last September, and he took on the World Cup promotion at eight weeks' notice when the original organisers pulled out.

For his 3 September promotion, Cossavella is offering free admittance to members of the British Federation and half-price to anyone they bring.

The stadium has been packed twice. For the opening meeting when the world and Olympic champion, Chris Boardman, competed, and then one February evening when Boardman raced against the world No 1, Tony Rominger.

The French victory in this fifth round stretched their overall lead in the six-round series to 98 points over Germany's 344 with Italy third on 189 points.

Of the seven track records that fell several times, Felicia Ballanger captured two of the three that were claimed by France.

Britain finished ninth on 17 points, and are 15th in the series with 51 points. The second placing of the former world champion, Graeme Obree, in the 4,000 metres pursuit made him their top points-scorer.