UEC European Cycling Track Championships
15 – 19 July, 2009; Minsk (Belarus)
The final day of racing at the UEC European Track Championships in Minsk saw another medal haul for the Great Britain riders with two Gold medals, a Silver and two Bronze to finish the championships on a high after a good week for the British future stars. In all, the team won a total of 20 medals for the event which is a key part of the development of young riders looking to represent Great Britain in future Olympiads.
Under 23 Women’s Scratch Race – Gold for Anna
If ever there was a medal that was well deserved it was the Gold for Britain’s Anna Blyth in the Under 23 Women’s Scratch race. Earlier this year Anna had to deal with the major move from the Great Britain Cycling Team’s Olympic Academy Sprint programme to the Endurance one and everything that entailed.
This included stage races abroad and kermesses in Belgium and along the way there were some heavy falls but the Leeds youngster has stayed strong and in the recent European Road Championships, Anna played an important role in a good performance by the team in the Under 23 Women’s road race.
Back on the track where she feels more at home, Anna took that endurance she is building on week after week in the Endurance Academy programme and used to it to great effect in the Scratch race. Taking a sprinter of such quality to the finish was always going to end in tears for the other countries and for Anna it was delight as she added to her European titles as a Sprinter an Endurance one which will give her great motivation for her future on the track in the Women’s endurance events.
Junior Men’s Madison; Gold and Bronze for GB
Gold and Bronze – what a stunning result for Darren Tudor’s Olympic Development riders in one of the toughest races on the track, the Madison. Welsh rider Jon Mould and the Isle of Man’s Chris Whorral combined well to be the only team to take a lap on all their rivals and clinch the victory despite a points total of only 3 points. In second place were the Italians, a lap down with 15 points who just pipped the other Great Britain duo of East Midlands’ Dan McLay and Wales’ Sam Harrison who had 13 points who made it a 1-3 for the British team.
Under 23 Men’s Keirin – Silver for Jason Kenny
Olympic champion Jason Kenny picked up his second silver medal of the championships when he was beaten by Germany’s World Keirin champion, Maximillan Levy in the final of the Keirin. In the run up to the final, Kenny blitzed his rivals in the first round and then in the second heat, showed the rider who beat him for the Sprint title there was plenty of speed left in his legs as Kenny won his heat in the second round ahead of Sireau.
Britain’s other rider in the event, Middlesbrough’s David Daniell won the minor final to finish the competition 7th. In the second round, he was in the same heat as Sprint winner Kevin Sireau and Jason Kenny and finished fourth which meant he missed out on the fight for Gold but showed great potential for the future in the company of such great champions.
Under 23 Men’s Points Race – Bronze for Mark Christian
GB had two riders in this event, Luke Rowe and Mark Christian and it was Isle of Man rider Mark Christian who was one of only three riders to lap the field twice in this punishing event, finishing the race with a Bronze medal behind Russian Ershov and Moldavian Pilusch. In a punishing event, these three rode the winner of the Scratch race out of contention with their aggressive racing and ability to take laps again and again.
Under 23 Women’s Keirin
A winner of the Junior Women’s Keirin title in previous years, Jess Varnish in her first year as an Under 23, finished the event in 7th place after winning the minor final. It was a tough fight into the final round for Jess as she finished third in the first round behind Dabrowska of Poland and Sandie Clair of France. This meant Jess had to fight back through the reps which she did well only to finish out of the top three in her second round heat and finish the event racing the minor final.
Junior Men's Keirin
The two British riders in this event, Kevin Stewart and Kian Emadi started this event well with both winning their heats to go through to the second round. This is where it got tough, for Stewart especially, who crashed out in the second round, relegating him to a ride in the minor final. In that race off for places 7 to 12, Kian Emadi finished 9th and Kevin Stewart 11th in their final race of the championships.
Great Britain Medal Tally: 6 Gold, 7 Silver, 7 Bronze | 20 in all
Anna Blyth, Under 23 Women's Scratch
Junior Men's Madison (Jon Mould/Chris Whorral)
Becky James (Junior Women's Sprint)
Becky James (Junior Women's 500m TT)
Junior Women's Team Pursuit (Jessica Booth, Laura Trott, Ella Sadler-Andrews)
Steven Burke (Under 23 men's Individual Pursuit)
Luke Rowe, Under 23 Men's Scratch Race
Jason Kenny, Men's Under 23 Sprint
Jason Kenny, Men's Under 23 Keirin
Becky James, Women's Keirin
Under 23 Men's Team Pursuit (Mark Christian, Andy Fenn, Luke Rowe and Erick Rowsell)
Junior Men's Team Pursuit (Tim Kennaugh, Jon Mould, Sam Harrison, George Atkins)
Under 23 Men's Team Sprint (Jason Kenny, David Daniell, Peter Mitchell)
Junior Men's Madison, Sam Harrison & Dan McLay
Chris Whorral, Junior Men's Scratch
Tim Kennaugh (Junior Men Points)
Laura Trott, Junior Women's Points
Laura Trott (Junior Women's Individual Pursuit)
Mark Christian, Under 23 Men's Points,
George Atkins (Junior Men's Individual Pursuit)
With the Great Britain team leading the medal table overall, hopes were high for the team coming into the fourth day of the competition and the British riders yet again showed the talent we have in this country by winning more medals.
Becky James, who has already won two Gold medals and added to that on day 4 with a Silver in the Junior Women’s Keirin while Olympic Champion Jason Kenny also won Silver (Men’s Sprint) while Chris Whorral (Junior Men’s Scratch) and Laura Trott (Junior Women Points) won bronze medals.
Junior Women's Keirin – Silver for Becky
The winner of two Gold medals already, Becky James, continued to steam roll her rivals by starting off with a win in the first round of the Keirin for Junior Women. The Welsh rider had so far been unbeaten in any race and she continued that winning streak in the second round by crossing the line first to make the final for Gold.
It was here that one of her rivals finally did get the better of the British sprinter when Becky was beaten to the line by one of the Russian riders (who were first and third) and Becky had to settle for Silver in the third event of her championships. The finish was certainly dramatic as Becky crashed in the process of clinching that silver medal but other than a bit of shock, the team say she is up and about and okay which is good news!
Under 23 Men’s Sprint – Silver for Kenny
Into the semi final stage on day 4 and while GB’s David Daniel had won the 5-8 minor final to finished the competition in 5th place the night before, Jason Kenny, Olympic Silver medallist was still in the running for a Gold medal.
His first challenge was in the semi final against Germany’s Waechter and he got off to a good start by winning Match A before his rival came back in Match B to level it one all. In Match C though the Bolton rider made no mistake to win that race and go through to the final against France’s Kevin Sireau who had beaten German’s Maximillian Levy 2:0 in his semi final
The French rider has been in exceptional form of late setting a new World Record for the flying 200 metres in May at the renowned Moscow indoor track where he blitzed the 200 metres in 9.650. In the final for Gold, Britain’s Kenny had no answer to the Frenchman’s speed and track craft and Sireau won the Gold in two straight rides with Kenny getting the Silver medal.
Junior Men's Scratch Race – Bronze for Chris Whorral
Great Britain was represented by the Isle of Man's Chris Whorral and Welsh rider Jon Mould in this event and both made it through to the final. Chris Whorrall gained a lap in his heat to ensure he had a spot in the final whilst Jon Mould came 4th in his heat to join Chris.
In the final, eight riders gained a lap including Whorral and from the sprint that ensued at the finish, Isle of Man rider Chris Whorral was third whilst Jon Mould completed the race 9th and first of the lapped riders.
Junior Women’s Points Race – Bronze for Laura Trott
There was a third medal for GB’s Laura Trott when she won the Bronze medal in the Points race with teammate Corrine Hall finishing 10th. First was Solovey of the Ukraine while second was Biannic of France.
Under 23 Women’s 500 metre TT– Jess Varnish 4th
Olympic Academy rider Jessica Varnish from the West Midlands finished a fine fourth in the 500 metre Time Trial behind three world class performers. Off in the first heat, Jess Varnish recorded a time of 35.378 which lead for a long time before the big guns were let loose and winner from France was Sandi.Clair from teammate Virginina.Cueff and third Sereikaite of Lithunia.
Under 23 Men's Scratch Race - Silver for Matt Rowe
Luke Rowe, whose brother Matt is a former winner of the Scratch race as a Junior, was aiming to emulate that result as well as a victory to go with his title in the Madison last year in the Junior event with Mark Christian who is also a Great Britain entrant in the Under 23 Men's Scratch race.
In the heats of the Scratch race, both the British riders finished 7th to make the top 12 and go through to the final in the evening. In the final, the Gold medal for GB eluded the British riders as Luke Rowe finished second behind Italian Vivianni in the Scratch race to make it five medals on the day for GB but alas, no Gold.
The third day of competition saw more Gold medals for GB thanks to the victory by Becky James in the Junior Women’s 500 metre time trial with an excellent time of 35.286. There were also medals of both colours in other events after the GB riders won Silver in the Under 23 Men's Team Pursuit and Tim Kennaugh came away from the Junior Men's Points race with a Bronze medal.
Junior Women’s 500 Metre TT
Welsh sprinter, Becky James won her second Gold medal of the championships when the Great Britain rider completed the 500 metre Time Trial in a time of 35.286 to beat the French rider, Mountauban who recorded a time of 35.671. Third place was another French rider, Baudacci, with a time of 35.846 whilst Great Britain’s other rider, Jessica Booth did the distance in a time of 38.222.
Junior Men’s Points Race
Great Britain entered two riders into this very competitive event, Dan McLay and Tim Kennaugh and both safely made it through to the finals after their qualifying heats in the morning session.
In the evening, the final was very close indeed with the first three riders all finishing with the same points total and the medals were decided on count back with Gold going to the Italian Ongaretto, the Russian rider Zubov coming second and Great Britain’s Tim Kennaugh was third. Dan McLay finished the race in 13th place.
Under 23 Men’s Sprint
In this event were a few of the riders from the Beijing Olympics including the Silver medallist, from Great Britain, Jason Kenny. He was going to be up against some top young sprinters who are fast becoming the world’s best including Kevin Sireau and in qualifying, it was the French rider who went fastest and was the only rider under 10 seconds with a time of 9.989.
Kenny wasn’t far behind in second place with 10.019 ahead of a new name in sprinting, Watcher (10.155), Maximillian Levy of Germany (10.172) and in 5th place, Great Britain’s up and coming sprinter, David Daniel (10.181).
David Daniell and Jason Kenny then progressed through round 2 and into the quarter finals where they would face some stiff opposition to get through to the semis. Whilst the experienced Jason Kenny qualified with ease against the Czech rider Spicka for the Under 23 sprint semis, Daniell faced the big German Levy who has shown time and time again he is part of the top echelon of World sprinting.
Levy was to prove to be too fast for Middlesbrough’s Daniell who went out in the quarters and into the minor final. The semi final and finals will be contested on day 4 of the championships.
Under 23 Men’s Team Pursuit
L-R: Erick Rowsell,Mark Christian, Luke Rowe and Andy Fenn.
After having qualified fastest in the morning, there was a Silver medal for the Great Britain Under 23 Men’s Team Pursuit riders, Mark Christian, Andrew Fenn, Luke Rowe and Erick Rowsell after they were beaten by a very quick Russian team in the final for the Gold and Silver medals.
Russia, who also won the Junior men’s event, won the Team Pursuit for Under 23 Men in a time of 4.04.381 to the 4.06.846 of Great Britain. Poland took the bronze medal in 4.07.581 in a race with Germany who finished 4th in 4.10.202.
Junior Men’s Sprint
The Junior Men’s Sprint saw Kevin Stewart finish the competition with 5th place after winning the minor final (5-8) with Lewis Oliva finishing eight. The day began with Stewart qualifying in fourth place with a time of 10.809 whilst Lewis Oliva qualified 14th in 11.047.
In the first round proper for the Match Sprint, Kevin Stewart beat the Greek rider Karageorgos to go through to the quarter finals whilst Lewis Oliva lost to Eric Engler to go into the repechages where he won through to the next round after beating Idarand of Estonia and Blaszczyk.
In the second round, Kevin Stewart beat Micheal Valenza in a photo finish to get through to the quarter finals however Lewis Oliva lost to France's Florian Vernay before yet again coming back through the reps and into the quarter finals after some determined riding.
The quarter finals saw some more great racing even if the results were not kind to the British team. Kevin Stewart in match A of his quarter final against Eric Engler of Germany lost but came back well in Match B to lead it out from a lap and half to go to win and make it one all.
In the decider, Stewart took the race to his German rival but it was not enough and Engler won to go through to the semis 2:1. In the other quarter final, Lewis Oliva lost out to top seed Litvinenko of Russia 2-0.
There were more Gold medals on day 2 of the European Track Championships when Welsh sprinter Becky James dominated her event to win the Gold medal to add to the Great Britain Cycling Team’s tally to make three in all over the two days so far. There were more medals in the others events on day 2 as well with two Bronze medals, one each for Laura Trott and George Atkins in the Junior Pursuit events (women and men respectively) and a Silver for the Under 23 Men’s Team sprint.
Women’s Junior Sprint
After qualifying so well the day before and making the finals in straight rides, Becky continued her great progress to the Gold medal in the Junior Women’s Sprint competition by beating her rival in the semi final 2:0.
It was the same again in the Gold medal ride off when Becky came up against the third fastest qualifier, Berthon of France, and demolished her challenge as well to show Europe she is a major challenger in the sprint event in years to come and certainly a rider who has been showing for a few years now that she is one of those special athletes that come along now and then showing huge potential for the future.
Women's Junior Individual Pursuit
GB had two riders in this event, Laura Trott and Ella Sadler Andrews and after both had ridden well in the European Road Championships two weeks before, hopes were high of good performances. After Ukraine rider Anna Solovey had set the best time of 2.25.240, Laura Trott came out and completed the 2000 metres in a time of 2.27.595 to go second fastest at the time.
More riders came and went and it wasn’t until the final heat when a Czech rider recorded a time of 2.26 to go under Laura’s time that the British rider was knocked out of the Gold medal ride and into the one for the Bronze medal in the evening session where Laura duly came off the track the winner with her second medal of the championships to go with the Team Pursuit Gold medal. Ella’s time of 2.30.115 saw her finish the qualifying session 6th in the event.
Junior Men’s Individual Pursuit
Great Britain entered two riders into this event and it was the Junior Men British Road Race champion George Atkins who came away with a medal after making the Bronze medal ride off and winning that with ease.
In qualifying, Sam Harrison finished his ride with a time of 3.25.914 for the 3,000 metres to finish 10th while Atkins rode a 3.23.317 to qualify third which he then made the most of in the bronze medal ride off. In the ride off for Gold, it was all Russian final which was no surprise after their dominant performance in the Team Pursuit on day 1.
Under 23 Women’s Sprint
GB’s competitor in this event was the first year senior rider Jess Varnish who started off well by qualifying 5th with a flying 200 metre time of 11.730 which was good enough for 5th place behind the leading rider, the very experienced Shulika of Ukraine who was quickest in 11.362.
In the next round, Jessica Varnish beat Polish rider Renata Dabrowska to progress to the quarter finals where she came up against the very experienced Sandie Clair who has been racing at World Championship level for many years now. Jess though took her all the way to a ride off before having to succumb to the French girls experience and speed. While Clair went onto the semi finals, Jess’s next ride was in the 5th-8th minor final where she was second to end the competition in 6th place.
Men’s Under 23 Team Sprint
Always a strong event for the Great Britain team, GB went into this event with the Olympic champion Jason Kenny supported by the up and coming David Daniel and Peter Mitchell. After the French did a sensational 43.964, a time good enough to win them World senior medals in the last few years, the pressure was on the Brits and they too did a great time of 44.721 to make the ride off for Gold.
In that final, the French, just as they did this year in the World Championships, showed their strength and speed by winning the race against the British team to take the Gold with Kenny, Daniell and Mitchell taking home the silver medal and the valuable experience of racing a Team Sprint event at a major competition against the country who are likely to remain GB’s biggest threat to Gold medals in the coming years.
Junior Men’s Kilometre
No final finishing positions for the British riders in this event but suffice to say no medals either for Callum Skinner (1.05.282) or Kian Emadi (1.05.347).
DAY 1 ( Matt Winston report)
The first day of competition in Minsk (Belarus) for the UEC European Track Cycling Championships saw the Great Britain team competing in five events. These were the Junior Female Sprint, Under 23 Men's Individual Pursuit, male and female Junior Team Pursuit and the Junior Team Sprint.
Junior Women Sprint
The first event of the morning was the Junior Female sprint and Welsh rider Rebecca James was the only British rider in this event. Rebecca went off in heat 11 and when she took to the track she was looking to beat the time set by the Russian rider Ekaterina Gnideka who had posted a time of 11.836.
Becky looked good though and as she went into her flying effort, the rider who had impressed so much in Cottbus (Germany) recently at a competition there, came round to post a time of 11.584 beating her previous best of 11.62. With five competitors still to go, she was sure of qualification into the first round but wasn’t sure of where she would be seeded. By the time the other riders finished Becky had qualified fastest with Gnideka the second placed rider.
1st Rebecca James, GBR, 11.584
2nd E. Gnideka, RUS, 11.836
3rd L. Berthon, FRA, 11.968
4th O. Montaubon, FRA, 11.977
5th O. Khudenko, RUS, 12.187
With Becky qualifying fastest and twelve riders going through, this meant that she would meet the twelfth placed rider in the first round. This was the Polish rider Drejgier who qualified in a time of 12.640. Having looked closely at the shape of the track with her coaches, Becky chose to lead the sprint out and although Drejgier pulled level in the back straight and into turn three, the Polish girl didn’t have enough in the legs to carry that on as Becky pressed harder on the pedals and pulled away to win round one.
Charlotte Arndt (Germany) was the next competitor that Becky met in her heat during the evening session. As we had reached the quarter final stage, the sprint matches were the best of three. Arndt had qualified in a time of 12.336 but this wasn’t good enough to beat the impressive James who won 2-0 to move on to the semi finals tomorrow (Thursday).
Under 23 Male Individual Pursuit
Great Britain had two riders going off in the fifteen heats of this event which is held over a distance of 4km. Andrew Fenn went off in heat seven and after a strong start, he kept his momentum going as he reeled in his Dutch competitor Stopler. At the half way distance Fenn’s time was the second fastest so far but by the time he crossed the line, Andrew was currently lying in third position overall with a time of 4.32.493
Olympic Bronze medallist Steven Burke went off in heat thirteen of the fifteen and was against another Dutch rider Vingerling. Burke, from Colne in Lancashire, looked to be going well as he ticked off the laps and caught Vingerling with about three laps to go before going on to record a time of 4.23.875 which was the quickest time of the day.
With two heats to go, Steven had to sit tight to see if he had qualified for the final and what medal he would ride off for if he had. Kaikov of Russia went in the next heat and was leading until the final kilometre until he slipped behind Burke to record a time of 4.24.777. This guaranteed that Burke would ride off for a medal, only the colour had to be decided. Shcedov of the Ukraine put up a good fight and was also leading till half way before slipping to 5th in a time of 4.28.781. Steven would ride for Gold in the evening session.
1st Steven Burke GBR 4.23.875
2nd Kaikov RUS 4.24.777
3rd Pliusch MDA 4.26.806
4th Kurek 4.28.351
5th Schedov UKR 4.28.787
11th Andrew Fenn GBR 4.32.493
The finals took place in the evening and saw Steven Burke going off against Kaikov for the gold medal. The Moldovan rider had already secured the Bronze in a time of 4.27.690. Burke rode a controlled race and looked smooth and comfortable as he cruised around the track to take the gold medal in a time of 4.24.129 well ahead of his rival.
1st Steven Burke GBR 4.24.129
2nd Kaikov RUS 4.25.259
3rd Pliucsh MDA 4.27.690
Junior Girls Team Pursuit
With the Great Britain cycling team’s women having never lost a team pursuit in its two years of existence, the team was seeded in the final heat (9th) for their 3 kilometre ride. The Czech team went off first and after two kilometres sprinted for the line and the clock continued to run. Last year the distance was two kilometres and that is where the confusion had happened. The officials decided to let them run off again at the end of the heats.
In the seventh heat, the Russian team crashed coming into the finish and didn’t record a time so they too were also given a restart after heat 9. The Ukrainian team had posted the fastest time of the day so far with 3.38.268 so that lead until the British trio of Ella Sadler Andrews, Laura Trott and Jessica Booth took to the track with the aim of going under that time. The girls rode a consistent race with good splits to come round and stop the clock in the fastest time of 3.32.776. The Russian girls stayed on two wheels in their re-run to clock a time of 3.37.449
1st Great Britain 3.32.776
2nd Russia 3.37.449
3rd Ukraine 3.38.265
4th France 3.39.915
In the 3/4th place ride off, Ukraine overcame the French trio to win the Bronze medal, going two seconds quicker than the qualifying ride to record a time of 3.36.110. In the final it was a dominant performance by the Junior British girls who also went two seconds quicker to win their final in a time of 3.30.627 beating the Russian team into second place with a time of 3.34.501
1st Great Britain 3.30.627 (Ella Sadler Andrews, Jess Booth, Laura Trott)
2nd Russia 3.34.501
3rd Ukraine 3.36.110
Junior Male Team Sprint
Great Britain went off in the final of the team sprint against France, a nation we have become accustomed to riding team sprints against. However it was the German team and the Polish team that had put down markers that were going to be difficult to beat. In the end the trio of Lewis Oliva, Callum Skinner and Kevin Stewart rode well but came in for 7th place with a time of 47.777, however this is a young team that will be fighting for Gold next year.
1st Germany 46.687
2nd Poland 46.711
3rd France 46.863
7th Great Britain 47.777
Junior Male Team Pursuit
The Junior men’s team pursuit qualifying was a fascinating race to watch. The team that went off in the 7th heat was the Polish team and they really got the competition going looking very impressive, under the watchful eye of the former Dutch coach Peter Pieters. They rode well to record a time of 4.19.368. Heat nine saw the Russian team go off and they looked hugely strong and eased into the lead in a time of 4.10.640. The Great Britain team was lead off by George Atkins, followed by Sam Harrison, Chris Whorral and Tim Kennaugh, and they managed to record a time of 4.14.340 which was good enough to put them into the Gold medal ride off in the evening session.
1st Russia 4.10.640
2nd Great Britain 4.14.340
3rd France 4.14.434
4th Italy 4.17.297
In the 3rd/4th place ride off the French team beat the Italian’s with a time of 4.12.838 to take the bronze. In the final against Russia, Great Britain altered their line up slightly replacing Chris Whorral with Jon Mould. The team rode a good race but unfortunately it was the Russian team that was stealing the show for the Belarusian crowd as they record an extremely impressive time of 4.07.531 compared to the British time of 4.13.184. The Russian time, one good enough to get them in top placing in a Senior World Cup shows how well this country is preparing for the 2012 Olympics.