2014 UCI Track Cycling World Championships coverage | Get into track cycling |
Published: 28 February 2014
Written by: Scott Hobro
Images: Luke Webber
Great Britain’s Joanna Rowsell won her second gold medal of the 2014 UCI Track Cycling World Championships with a stunning ride in the individual pursuit.
The 25-year-old beat defending champion Sarah Hammer (USA) with a personal best time of 3:30.318 over the three-kilometres at the Velodromo Alcides Nieto Patino in Cali, Colombia.
“It means the world to me,” Rowsell said.
“This has been a personal goal for me for a while, I just can’t believe I pulled it off!”
Having won team pursuit gold on Thursday, Rowsell led from the start in the final and by the 1500m point had built a lead of nearly one second.
She held the gap over the closing laps to celebrate a first-ever individual world title and complete a memorable double.
“The team (pursuit) is obviously still the priority that’s what we train for and I’ll live and die for those girls," Rowsell added.
"But it’s a really good chance for me to come here and do an individual event the day after the team pursuit, so we can prioritise the TP."
Earlier Hammer had qualified fastest in 3:29.711, nearly a second quicker than Rowsell’s 3:30.610. Britain’s other representative in the event and another team pursuit winner, Elinor Barker, finished ninth in a time of 3:41.609.
"I woke up this morning feeling good, which is unusual after two four-kilometre team pursuits the day before, riding from man one," Rowsell said.
"But I felt I had good legs on the rollers this morning and thought ‘this is a good sign’.
"I was really pleased with my qualifying ride just two tenths off my PB, but I can’t believe that ride just now, that’s a new personal best for me on pretty much an outdoor track, five spoke wheel, everybody else went slower.
"I can’t believe I’ve done it, I can’t believe I went that quick."
In the women’s sprint, defending champion Becky James was knocked out in the 1/4 final by teammate Jess Varnish.
The pair won team sprint bronze together on day one of the competition but met with Varnish winning two heats to nil in a contest which at one point saw Varnish hit the boards after falling in a stand-off with James, who went on to win the 5th-8th final.
Following the race 22-year-old James from Abergavenny rued her tactical decisions before affirming that there were no hard feelings between herself and Varnish.
"I've no idea why we decided to go for those tactics," James said. "It's upsetting because I wanted to defend my world title, especially after qualifying second. My legs felt great today."
Of Varnish, James said:
"Really good friends off the track and worst enemies on the track. That's how sport is.
"We've both been practising track standing and slow riding together in Manchester.
"When I felt her hit my back wheel and I just saw her tumble we both had a bit of a giggle."
Varnish, who missed last year’s championships with a back injury, had come through the repechages having been beaten by Olympic champion Anna Meares in the 1/8 stage.
James’ path was less complex, overcoming Dutch rider Shanne Braspennincx and Australia’s Stephanie Morton to set up the tie with Varnish.
In qualifying, James stopped the clock in 10.954 seconds with Germany’s Kristina Vogel - who James defeated to win the title last year - topping the leader board in 10.946 seconds.
Varnish had qualified sixth and fellow Brit Victoria Williamson, who exited in the 1/8 repechage, fifth. The discipline concludes on Saturday.
Ed Clancy ended the first day of the men’s omnium in sixth after three of the six events.
Returning to the track after riding in the team pursuit on Wednesday, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist in the event had the perfect start - winning the opening flying lap discipline with a time of 12.806 seconds.
But 13th in the points race, where Clancy picked up five points, saw the 28-year-old drop down the overall rankings.
A solid ninth in the elimination race leaves Clancy four points adrift of the bronze medal position with three events remaining.
Twenty-one-year-old Kian Emadi ended the kilo in 12th. Emadi, part of the British trio that finished fifth in the men’s team sprint, managed a time of 1:02.220 with France’s world record holder Francois Pervis winning in 59.385.
Owain Doull suffered a crash in the men’s points race as he finished 17th with nil points. There was jubilation for the home crowd as Colombian Edwin Avila Vanegas won the rainbow jersey in a dramatic race that went down to the final sprint.
Saturday will see the conclusion of the women’s sprint and men’s omnium as well as the start of the men’s sprint and women’s omnium, plus the women’s points race.