The men’s team pursuit took the first rainbow jerseys for the Great Britain Cycling Team on the second day of the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, while the women’s team pursuit also bagged an impressive silver medal.
Men’s Team Pursuit
After an excellently executed start to the competition, qualifying first with a time of 3:48.092, and comfortably beating New Zealand in the first round, Great Britain’s pursuit team of Dan Bigham, Ethan Hayter, Ethan Vernon and Ollie Wood lined up against the Italian quartet to battle it out for the coveted rainbow stripes.
The race started comfortably, with Italy taking an initial lead, until Ollie Wood pulled the GB team forward on the third lap, before peeling off after 2750m. The Brits continued to lead by a small margin but maintained consistency and never let Italy get back up on them. Ethan Hayter took the final turn to get the remaining three riders over the line in a sensational finish which saw Great Britain take its first world champions title of the competition.
Describing winning a world title, Hayter said, “It feels incredible. It’s pretty hard to win a world title obviously, and I’m sure we’re going to enjoy it.”
Dan Bigham added, “It means less pressure on all of us. I think we’ve all got unfinished business with the Olympics and to be sat here, less than two years out from the Olympics in the very same velodrome, I think the pressure’s off performance wise and we can now really just focus on the process and basically just nail it as a team.“
Women’s Team Pursuit
After Qualifying second, behind Italy, with a time of 4:13.117 yesterday, Great Britain subbed Meg Barker for Anna Morris to complete Great Britain’s team of Katie Archibald, Neah Evans and Josie Knight.
In the first round against third fastest qualifier France, the Brits delivered a strong ride, picking up time on the French from lap three. France started closing in again in the last thousand metres, but Great Britain dug deep for the final push with Katie Archibald on the front, sprinting to the finish and leaving France behind to take Great Britain into the evening’s gold medal race against Italy.
The women’s team pursuit final saw an impressive ride from the Brits, but a world title was not to be this time and after consistently leading, Italy won the race with Great Britain taking an impressive silver medal, the first for new coach Cameron Meyer.
Neah Evans said: “If at one point you’d said we’d come away with a medal, we’d take it but it does feel bittersweet; you feel like you’ve lost the gold, but we have won the silver. As a team we’ve ridden really well. Meg helped us with qualifying and Anna stepped in, which is a huge unknown for her and she rose to the occasion. Katie’s just been phenomenal so it’s been challenging and there’s so many positives we can take from it and it’s really exciting for the future – can’t wait to see what we can do with a bit more time working together.”
After winning bronze with her team in the women’s team sprint yesterday, Sophie Capewell was up again for the women’s sprint event. Starting strong, Capewell qualified seventh with a personal best time of 10.492.
Capewell progressed into the quarter finals after comfortably winning her 1/16 race against Ireland’s Orla Walsh and 1/8 final against Olena Starikova of Ukraine.
Quarterfinals saw her and Mathilde Gros of France go head to head, with Gros taking an initial lead with a win in the first of the three races. The second race also went to Gros, after a strong challenge from Capewell, ultimately knocking her out of the event. Capewell will ride again in Sunday’s keirin.
Jack Carlin breezed through the first round, leading all the way to qualify in first place, with a time of 10.137 followed by the Netherlands’ Jeffrey Hoodland. In the quarter finals, starting in sixth position in the line up, Carlin took his time and crossed the finish line on the sprint in a nail biting fourth place, qualifying him for the semi-finals.
In the keirin semi-finals, Jack Carlin drew fifth place, and so launched an early attack as the motorbike came off the track with three laps to go, taking the jump on his opponents. Carlin bravely clung on to the lead, but it was short lived as he was swamped by the rest of the riders who had used his attack as a launch pad for their own.
In the minor final, Carlin drew last place and followed the Australian pair to the front in the last lap to finish third in the race, and ninth overall.
Sophie Lewis made her world championships debut in what was a gutsy elimination ride. Starting comfortably, Lewis did well to recover from a nasty crash early on in the race, but continued to ride well earning her a sixth place finish at her first ever world championships.
Men’s Scratch Race
The men’s scratch race saw Rhys Britton ride with confidence in a rapid race. The pace continued to increase throughout the race, and with 15 laps to go, Britton remained in the front half of the race with a select group, staying in prime positions. The attacks came thick and fast with ten laps remaining, making an exciting finale as Britton remained in contention. With two laps to go, Britton found himself boxed in as riders battled for position and finished a commendable 14th place.
Tomorrow will see Sophie Lewis take on the women’s omnium, while Will Perrett contests the men’s 40km points race and Dan Bigham heads back to the track in the individual pursuit.