Masters worlds ‘dream team’ misses qualifying, begins plan for next year

A masters-worlds USA “dream team” with two riders from Arizona missed qualifying for medals by one and a half seconds Thursday in the men’s 35-44 team pursuit in Manchester, England.

Arizona’s Karl Baumgart and Lewis Elliot, along with teammates Dean Phillips from Boston and Jon Murazak from Texas came up short with at time of 3:28.928 and placed just outside qualifying for the finals to Great Britain’s No. 2 team, which had a time of 3:27.149.

Argentina went on to take gold with 3:21.563, home-team Great Britain secured silver with 3:23.707 and France won bronze with 3:24.593.

“Racing against the best of the best at a world championship event – and those teams all have velodromes to train on full time – they have a huge advantage,” said Bob Francis, the USA team’s manager.

Francis said while he was glad they were able to have a three day training camp on a velodrome in California before worlds, they were still not as prepared as the other teams.

Francis said many of the individuals and teams competing at worlds arrived a week beforehand to practice on the track and work on all aspects of their final preparations. With no velodrome in Arizona and limited funding and vacation time, Francis and his team didn’t have that option.

“I’m thankful that my boss and my job allows me the opportunity and financial ability, but there is just no way I could have come here a full week early, and that goes for Karl [Baumgart] and our team pursuit riders as well,” Francis said.

Baumgart agreed that with the proper preparation and a velodrome to train on, the team would have fared better. Baumgart said they were underprepared to handle a track as fast as Manchester’s.

“To come here just days before the race, never putting in a training session as a team on this track or even just a hot lap or two to get the flow down together makes for a less-than-ideal situation,” Baumgart said. “It’s a lesson to take into next year’s worlds that showing up before the racing starts and securing private track time just to gel as a unit is a critical step.”

Baumgart said the team started off the race too fast, with the first three laps being the fastest any of the riders had pedaled during a race. Had the team stayed on their target time, Baumgart said they would have qualified.

“We were all so amped up to kill it based on last year’s times, because on paper we could; we lost sight of our required pace and just fed into the speed,” Baumgart said. “It’s easy to do early on and proved to be our downfall.”

Baumgart said it leads back to the team’s lack of preparation but also speaks volumes to how teammate Lewis Elliot and Baumgart could have been better prepared if there were a velodrome in Arizona.

The team was also hoping to attempt to break the national 4,000 meter team pursuit record but were unable to secure an open slot to attempt the record due to the tight schedule of the event.

Francis said the team will postpone the record attempt until logistics can be worked out for either the Carson, Calif. or Colorado Springs, Colo. velodromes.

But now that the team knows what they have to work on, they are starting to prepare themselves for next year’s competition.

“We will be back bigger and better next season including nationals and back here for worlds,” Francis said.

Photo by American Track Cycling

Michael Close