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It was another fantastic result for Great Britain’s Academy and Olympic Development riders in day two at the U23/Junior European Track Championships with two gold medals, a silver and a bronze at the end of what was an exciting day of racing on the boards in Anadia.
Development rider Matthew Rotherham rode to an impressive victory in the Junior Men’s 1Km Time Trial with a time of 1:03.860, pushing the Russian Alexander Dubchenko, who had been leading for nine heats, into the silver medal spot. After the event, Rotherham was clearly delighted at his victory and his new title of Junior European Kilo Champion but felt he could have gone faster. Not happy with just one title, Rotherham is now focusing on what he calls “the big one” - the Junior Men’s Sprint Title.
Next up on the track saw Becky James and Victoria Williamson in the gold medal final of the U23 Women’s Team Sprint. They were up against fastest qualifiers Russia who, after clocking a time of 33.678 in the final, put the Great Britain duo in to the silver medal spot with a still impressive time of 34.687. A time from Williamson and James which was nearly three tenths up on the one they posted in qualifying earlier that day. The U23 Men’s Team Sprint team who rode in the minor final against Poland shortly afterwards lost out on a bronze medal, placing in fourth overall.
The Junior Women’s pursuit final was a real nail biter. After having qualified fastest in a new British record of 3.35.292, the team of Lucy Garner, Amy Roberts and newly crowned European Individual Pursuit Champion Elinor Barker were 1.8 seconds down on the Russians at the half way point. However, they stayed calm, kept to their schedule and began to reel their opponents in. Going into the last 250m, they were still down by 0.2 seconds but after an amazing last lap effort, they finished winning by 0.4 seconds. After a fantastic ride, the team were obviously delighted but are now setting their sights on more medals over the coming days.
A delighted Great Britain Olympic Development Coach, Matt Winston spoke shortly after the race: “For the final we set out a plan. We knew the Russians would set off quick but having watched them in training and in qualification I knew that they would tie up towards the end. The plan was to ride our own schedule regardless of what the Russians were doing up to 6 laps to go. With 7.5 laps to go we were 1.8 seconds behind and from there, we began to chip away at their advantage. With 1km left, we were still 1.2 seconds behind the Russian train and even with a lap to go we were still in second place. The girls raced as hard as they could to the line and by the finish we had turned the tables and won with 0.4 seconds advantage in a time of 3.33.921 which again is a new British Record.”
Olympic Development athlete, John Dibben rounded off a tough two days of pursuiting by taking the Bronze in the Junior Men’s Individual pursuit. Dibben will now compete in the Junior Omnium and Madison events later this week.
The action continues today with the Junior Men’s Sprint, the U23 Women’s Sprint and the Junior Women’s 500m TT along with men’s and women’s points races for both Junior and U23 riders. We will be reporting on all the action from Portugal in our daily round ups throughout the championships.