Road To 2016
Preview: 2012 UEC European Track Championships
Published 18 October 2012
2012 UEC Track Cycling European Championships Home
The first championship event since the London 2012 Olympic Games marks the continuation of the Road to 2016 this weekend, with the British Cycling Performance Programme athletes selected already eyeing the Commonwealth Games.
While the 2011 championships were the Olympic testing ground and catalyst for an enforced nine-month training camp that culminated in unprecedented success, 2012 sees only Olympic Podium Programme athlete Matt Crampton defending a title, while Olympic Academy Programme athletes Victoria Williamson, Lewis Oliva and Callum Skinner all make their senior championship level debuts.
Crampton, Oliva and Skinner will line up for the team sprint on Friday in Lithuania – a race Oliva described as “the blue riband event as it comes to sprinters – where you can see who is going well for the individual events” when he spoke to British Cycling this week.
Oliva’s focus will then shift to Sunday’s keirin, while both Crampton and Skinner prepare for Saturday’s sprint competition. At the British championships Crampton qualified third behind Oliva with a 10.284 flying 200m, but could not reach the final. That position was reserved for Skinner who qualified fastest in 10.233 and went on to win the contest after a photo finish against Oliva.
Crampton races for the final time in the keirin on Sunday, when he will defend his European title won in Apeldoorn last October. Then, he edged out Jason Kenny in the semi-final before a tactical change resulted in a gold medal.
In 2012, the British champion will have to recover from two days of racing, but can be buoyed that none of the finalists from the 2011 event are on the start sheet.
Victoria Williamson returns from three silver medals at the British championships to compete in the sprint and keirin. Her first international championship provides contrast to the end of Victoria Pendleton’s era, as she continues the work completed by Becky James and Jess Varnish at the opening round of the World Cup, as the search continues for a successor to Britain’s most successful female Olympic track sprinter.
Coverage and reaction from the 2012 European track championships starts on Friday with the men’s team sprint.