The Great Britain Cycling Team added a further three bronze medals to its tally on day two of the 2021 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Roubaix, with debutant Rhys Britton joining the men’s and women’s team pursuit teams on the podium.
Riding in the scratch race Britton made an assured start and threatened to break clear of the bunch with the USA’s Gavin Hoover, gaining half a lap until the pair were gradually reeled in. Further attacks followed and failed, including another from Hoover, leaving the race finely poised as it entered its final stages.
Showing great awareness Britton measured his effort perfectly and showed a fantastic burst of speed to again break clear with eventual winner and silver medallist Donavan Grondin (France) and Tuur Dens (Belgium), and he had just enough to hold off Roy Eefting (Netherlands) to pick up an elite world championships podium at the first time of asking.
“It’s a big thing to be here, and to medal is pretty big as well. I’m bouncing to be honest with you, I wasn’t really expecting a medal at my first world championships, and to be able to do that is pretty special.
“It was all about putting myself in the best position. Sometimes it’s easier to be off the front, ahead of the race, rather than trying to play it a bit too smart and having to chase. At least when I’m in front I’m in control rather than on the back foot, and I just wanted to make sure I was never on the back foot really.
“It’s a big confidence boost and hopefully I can push on from here, build on it and just get better and better with each race hopefully.”
Having lost their first-round tie to Olympic champions Italy yesterday, the men’s team pursuit team faced Denmark in the day’s first medal race, riding for bronze. Following a re-start due to Ethan Hayter unclipping on the line, the unchanged quartet of Hayter, Ethan Vernon, Charlie Tanfield and Ollie Wood trailed by more than half a second at the half-way mark.
However, a phenomenal turnaround kickstarted by Vernon saw them secure the bronze by a margin of almost two seconds, matching the team’s performance at this month’s UEC European Track Championships.
Speaking afterwards, Ollie Wood said:
“We just need to keep doing what we’re doing really. We’ve got the personnel, there are just a few things we need to piece together. I think we did a good performance today, I mean two of the lads haven’t even put their leg over their track bike since they got off at the Olympics, so that’s positive, and we’ve not ridden together since the Games.
“We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and focusing on what we need to do, and hopefully results will come.”
After qualifying third fastest with a time of 4:16.200 on day one of the competition, the women’s team pursuit team faced off against Italy in round one – the team which had set the second fastest qualifying time with 4:14.176. While the unchanged lineup of Katie Archibald, Megan Barker, Neah Evans and Josie Knight clocked an improved time of 4:14.413, the Italian team proved just too strong, setting up a bronze medal ride against Canada.
Great Britain started strongly, leading by over half a second within the first 1,000m, and never looked back thereafter, taking the victory by a margin of over 5.5 seconds. The victory also ensured a debut medal for Barker at her first elite world championships, and a first world championships medal for Knight.
Earlier in the day Sophie Capewell and Blaine Ridge-Davis followed yesterday’s team sprint bronze by finishing 11th and 19th fastest in the flying lap qualification round of the individual sprint. In the 1/16 finals Capewell impressively overcame the Czech Republic’s Veronika Jabornikova to progress, while Ridge-Davis was eliminated by Russia’s 2018 European champion Daria Shmeleva.
In her 1/8 final Capewell faced Pauline Grabosch, who was part of the German team sprint team which broke the world record three times en route to winning gold last night, and Grabosch narrowly pipped Capewell to the line to advance to the quarter finals.
In the men’s keirin Joe Truman and Hamish Turnbull finished fourth and third respectively in high-calibre qualifying heats, before exiting the competition in the first round repechages, while Ella Barnwell finished in 16th place in the elimination race in her debut elite world championships.
The championships continues tomorrow, with medals up for grabs in the men’s points race, men’s kilo, men’s individual pursuit, women’s sprint and women’s omnium.