Newly-crowned omnium world champion Katie Archibald capped off a stellar week at the UCI Track Cycling World Championship in Roubaix with a silver medal in the women’s point’s race.
Having already collected bronze in the team pursuit, gold in the omnium and bronze in the Madison, Archibald set out to become the first British woman to win four medals in a single world championships since Becky James in 2013.
After observing the first two sprints from the back, Archibald launched her first attack in the lead up to the third, taking maximum points before easing off to re-join the bunch. After winning the fourth sprint she joined a group of seven other riders – including rivals Kirsten Wild (Netherlands), Jennifer Valente (USA) and Lotte Kopecky (Belgium) – on the attack, and successfully gained a lap on the field.
Some impressive sprinting saw Archibald leading by a narrow two-point margin after seven sprints, and a second lap gain took her advantage to five over Kopecky. However the Belgian rider still had plenty more to give, and as Archibald found herself battling alone Kopecky gained another lap alongside Wild and France’s Marion Borras, with further points in the sprints giving her a 14-point lead and all but securing the gold medal.
Not for the first time this week Archibald found herself head-to-head with Wild, who was riding in the final track world championships of her distinguished career, but found a second wind to take maximum points in the final two sprints and an incredible fourth medal of the week.
Afterwards, she said:
“I’m really pleased, it’s almost like the harder it is, the happier you are. I really struggled there, and I think that was all I had. When you’re fighting for something and you get it – maybe at 20 laps to go, I realised I was fighting for silver – so it felt like a victory.
“I’ve had such a good time this week, but it’s so emotionally draining, wanting something so bad. The most relief I get is during the race, when all you are thinking about is going hard and not about how much it is going to hurt afterwards. But the sweet relief we get for those 100 laps – it’s so worth it!”
Yesterday’s omnium gold medallist Ethan Hayter teamed up with Ollie Wood for the men’s Madison, up against formidable opposition across the field. After taking maximum points in the third sprint, followed by more in the fourth, fifth and sixth, the pair sat fifth at the half-way point, just six points off the medal places.
A monumental effort to gain a lap with 30 to go was finally rewarded as the race entered its final 15 laps, briefly propelling the pair into third place, though a lap gain by the French duo of Morgan Kneisky and Benjamin Thomas soon saw Hayter and Wood back in fifth.
Despite a final surge and the maximum 10 points in the final sprint of the race, the six points scored by Belgium saw them take bronze by an agonising four-point margin.
At the end of a successful week for the pair, following team pursuit bronze and Hayter’s own omnium gold, he said:
“I mean fourth place and just ten points off the win, we almost took that lap alone at the end and that might have just made the difference, but it was what it was at the end of the day.
“Once you get away and get your own tempo it’s hard, but we had that in our legs. We just didn’t quite make it as early as we would have liked.”
In a hotly-contested elimination race Ethan Vernon rode confidently to a sixth-place finish, at the end of his first senior track world championships. Vernon rode smartly to stay out of trouble, but had to launch a big effort to stay in the race as the field was whittled down to its final 10 riders, and was narrowly edged out on the inside with six riders remaining.
In the women’s keirin, team sprint bronze medallist Sophie Capewell entered the repechages after finishing sixth in an incredibly tough qualifying heat. There she narrowly missed out on qualification to the second round, finishing runner-up to the USA’s Madalyn Godby.
Today’s results mean that the Great Britain Cycling Team ends this year’s championships with a total of two gold, one silver and five bronze medals.