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Review: France and Germany dominated Track Worlds Berlin 1999

Jens Fiedler © Hans-Alfred Roth
Jens Fiedler © Hans-Alfred Roth

France and Germany dominated the Track World Championships 1999 in the Berlin Velodrome. Whilst France won seven out of twelve titles and led the medals table with a total of ten medals (7/1/2), the host Germany finished second (3/4/4). The German victories were gained by Jens Fiedler in Keirin and Robert Bartko in Individual and Team Pursuit.

It was the World Championship’s highlight in the fully occupied velodrome: On the last day of the 89th World Championships Jens Fiedler won the Keirin race. In the last meters of the race, the Chemnitzer almost would have been brought down by the American Marthy Nothstein, but instead flew past the second-placed from New Zealand Anthony Peden – who is now coach in China. Afterwards he sat down on the track and allowed himself to be celebrated by the 4000 spectators. "This is a compensation for the lost sprint title," said Fiedler, who had lost the final of the "King's Discipline" the day before. Eight years after his World Cup success in Stuttgart, he failed for the third time in a row in a World Championship final in the sprint against a Frenchman, this time on last year’s third Laurent Gané.

At the beginning of the title fights with athletes from 33 nations, the Potsdamer Robert Bartko and the Leipziger Jens Lehmann had won gold and silver for Germany in the Individual Pursuit on the first day of the World Championships. Bartko caught up with his opponent after three kilometers. Bartko, then 23 years old, didn’t leave any room for doubt about his ambitions in the qualifications and set a new German record with 4:18;188 minutes, which was valid until October 2015 – being broken by Domenic Weinstein.

Bartko and Lehmann were also part of the German quartet that won Gold in new German record time of 4:01,144 minutes, surprisingly dominating the Olympic champion France (4:03,965 minutes). During the tournament the Germans broke their record three times. Guido Fulst (Berlin), Daniel Becke (Erfurt), Jens Lehmann (Leipzig) and Robert Bartko (Berlin) rode around the 250m track as if they had never done anything else before. And that despite the fact that after years of just competing in Individual Pursuit Bartko and Lehmann only joined the quartet in the semi-finals (replacing Christian Lademann and Olaf Polalck).

Just like Bartko Marion Clignet (Individual Pursuit, Points Race) and Felicia Ballanger (Sprint, Time Trial) won each two gold medals and ensured that all four women titles went to France. Furthermore, Arnaud Tournant (Time Trial, Team Sprint) and Laurent Gané (Sprint, Team Sprint) got themselves two World Championships titles in Berlin. In the men’s Points Race Bruno Risi from Switzerland won the title and the Madison gold was awarded to Joan Llaneras and Isaac Gálvez from Spain.

German Medals World Championships 1999: GOLD: Jens Fiedler (Keirin); Robert Bartko (Individual Pursuit); Robert Bartko, Guido Fulst, Jens Lehmann, Daniel Becke, Chistian Lademann, Olaf Pollack; SILVER: Jens Fiedler (Sprint); Jens Lehmann (Individual Pursuit); Judith Arndt (Points Race, Individual Pursuit); BRONZE: Stefan Nimke (Time Trial); Jens Fiedler, Sören Lausberg, Stefan Nimke (Team Pursuit), Andrea Kappes/Olaf Pollack (Madison); Ulrike Weichelt (Time Trial)