John Archibald and Jason Kenny were among those crowned national champions on the opening day of competition at the HSBC UK | National Track Championships in Manchester.
HUUB Wattbike p/b Vita Coco dominated the men’s team pursuit, as Archibald retained his title ahead of team-mates Jonny Wale and Dan Bigham.
Archibald qualified fastest (4:12.624), but didn’t have it all his own way, as team-mate Wale put in a fantastic performance to beat former national champion Bigham and record a personal best of 4:13.059.
In the final, Wale got off to his customary explosive start, but Archibald remained focused to reel his team-mate in and edge into the lead at around the 1500m mark. From then, his victory was never in doubt, and he crossed the line in 4:14.572 to win his second consecutive individual pursuit national title.
Bigham won the battle for bronze, bouncing back from the disappointment of missing out on the final by beating team-mate Will Perrett – who also clocked a personal best (4:15.662) in qualifying – to claim the final place on the podium.
“I’m very happy to win, to defend. Jonny did a great ride, which didn’t surprise us – we knew it was coming because of the way he’s been training and preparing. I didn’t have the perfect ride but I’m delighted to win – that’s all that counts.”
Six-time Olympic champion Kenny rode the qualifying round as Team Inspired opted to rotate their squad as they moved convincingly through the competition to eventual gold.
Kenny lined up with fellow Olympic champion Phil Hindes and Jack Carlin for the qualifying round, when they clocked 43.061, a time which only Slingshot trio James Bunting, Ali Fielding and Hamish Turnbull (44.363) got within three seconds of.
Ryan Owens and Joe Truman replaced Hindes and Kenny for the first round, and the Team Inspired trio again clocked the fastest time of the round (43.829) to set up a gold medal final against Slingshot.
Despite requiring a re-start, Owens, Truman and Carlin wrapped up gold in a time of 44.203.
The first title of the night went to Team Breeze’s Josie Knight, who defeated Anna Morris to win the women’s individual pursuit.
Knight was the afternoon’s fastest qualifier, stopping the clock in 3:32.771, and she always had the upper hand in the final, despite a fantastic effort from Morris, who finished just over a second behind her opponent.
Megan Barker won bronze after a seesaw battle with Jos Lowden. Barker clocked 3:33.793 in the first round, and backed that up with a 3:36.155 a matter of hours later, defeating road specialist Lowden, who had packed three efforts into just over 24 hours having come through qualifying on Thursday evening.
Of her first ever senior national title, Knight said:
“I really wanted this. This time last year I wasn’t on the Great Britain Cycling Team programme but I was here, trying to record a time to get me on the programme, and I just managed to do that, so to come back and win this year is really special.
“Katie (Archibald – the winner of this title for the last three years) is an incredible athlete, who I really look up to, so to be able to take the jersey on for the next year is really special.”
A thrilling women’s sprint competition was won by Lauren Bate, who started and finished the competition the strongest, but had to overcome the determined challenge of Milly Tanner.
Bate was the only rider to dip below 11 seconds for the flying 200m qualification round, stopping the clock in 10.931. She then made serene progress, not losing a contest until Blaine Ridge-Davis took her to a deciding round in the semi-final.
For her part, Tanner impressively defeated defending champion Sophie Capewell in the quarter-final, then eventual bronze medallist Lauren Bell in the semi-final.
She also took first blood in the final, but Bate showed her quality to overturn the advantage and edge the deciding rubber to claim gold.
Podium positions are listed below:
Women’s individual pursuit:
1. Josie Knight (Team Breeze)
2. Anna Morris (AeroLab Ward WheelZ)
3. Megan Barker (CAMS Tifosi)
Men’s individual pursuit
1. John Archibald (HUUB Wattbike p/b Vita Coco)
2. Jonny Wale (HUUB Watbbike p/b Vita Coco)
3. Dan Bigham (HUUB Wattbike /p/b Vita Coco)
Women’s individual sprint
1. Lauren Bate
2. Milly Tanner
3. Lauren Bell
Men’s team sprint
1. Team Inspired (Jason Kenny, Phil Hindes, Jack Carlin, Ryan Owens, Joe Truman)
2. Slingshot (James Bunting, Ali Fielding, Hamish Turnbull)
3. Black Line A (Harry Ledingham-Horn, Ed Lowe, Hayden Norris)
The championships continue tomorrow, when the men’s sprint, kilo and points race and the women’s team pursuit, keirin and scratch race titles will be decided.