Ethan Hayter put in an impressive performance to record a top-five finish in the men’s points race on the penultimate day of racing at the UEC European Track Championships.
In a dramatic race, Hayter figured throughout – taking the first lap gain along with Denmark’s Matias Gunnar Malmberg early on in the race – as he continues to work his way back to full fitness following the broken collarbone he sustained at the Tour de l’Avenir during the road season.
Hayter gained an additional two laps further on in the race, but other riders were also active on the front, with Greece’s Christos Volikakis, Italy’s Michele Scartezzini and France’s Bryan Coquard in particular figuring well. Midway through the race, Dutch world champion Jan van Schip made his move, and fought his way up the leaderboard as the event progressed.
Coming into the final sprint, the gold medal was up for grabs, but Coquard held off the home favourite to clinch the European title with 98 points to van Schip’s 93. Hayter’s total of 76 left him 12 points shy of a medal position.
Reflecting on his performance, Ethan said: “I made a good start but then found myself lacking my usual level of fitness quite soon after and lost control from there!"
Neah Evans, victorious as part of the women’s team pursuit quartet earlier in the week, finished ninth in the equivalent women’s race. The Scot was on the front foot early on, winning the first sprint and then joining forces with Italy’s Maria Giulia Confaloneiri and France’s Coralie Demay to attack.
The move didn’t result in a lap gain, though, and the trio were brought back by the field. It was Confaloneiri who maintained the early initiative however, and she was one of a small group of riders who did gain a lap before she was able to control the rest of the race, staying in the wheel of closest rival, Tatsiana Sharakova of Belarus, in the final sprint to ensure she took gold by two points.
Evans figured in the later sprints as well, but ultimately finished on 14 points – the best tally of those riders who didn’t gain a lap.
Both keirin events also took place today, with all four British riders – Katy Marchant, Sophie Capewell, Jason Kenny and Jack Carlin – exiting the competition in their respective semi-finals.
Kenny was second in his first round heat, while Carlin, Capewell and Marchant all advanced to the semi-finals through the repechages. All four Britons were edged out of final places, though, and instead contested the 7-12 finals, where Marchant finished eighth, Capewell 11th, Carlin 10th and Olympic champion Kenny served a reminder of his class by comfortably winning his race to secure a 7th-place finish.
Going into the final day of competition, the Great Britain Cycling Team has eight medals: two golds, in the women’s team pursuit and scratch race (Emily Nelson), silvers in the women’s omnium (Laura Kenny), men’s team sprint and women’s elimination (Nelson) and bronzes in the women’s individual pursuit (Katie Archibald), men’s omnium (Ollie Wood) and men’s team pursuit.
Tomorrow sees both Madisons take place, with Kenny and Archibald set to link up in the women’s event and Wood and Walls due to join forces in the men’s.