Published: 16 November 2012
Report: Scott Hobro
Great Britain collected two gold medals on the opening day of the Glasgow Track World Cup in front of a vociferous crowd in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
Women’s team sprint duo Jess Varnish and Becky James continued their burgeoning partnership with their second win in the world cup series this season, recording a personal best as they beat Spain for gold.
There was also victory in the women’s team pursuit, which contained junior world time trial champion Elinor Barker who impressed alongside Olympic champions Dani King and Laura Trott as they overcame Australia, who had been quicker in qualifying.
Two-time Olympic team pursuit champion Ed Clancy, making his team sprint debut alongside Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny, picked up silver as the three were edged out by Germany in the final.
There was to be no such luck for Owain Doull, Andy Tennant, Sam Harrison and Joe Kelly as a nasty crash in the qualifying of the men’s team pursuit ended any hopes of a podium finish in the event.
Elsewhere, Jon Dibben started his omnium campaign, Simon Yates finished fifth in the men’s scratch race. Varnish, having already raced twice in the team sprint, managed sixth in 500m time trial.
"It's really good to be back on top of the podium," Varnish told the BBC. “I want to get as much track time and as many races under my belt as possible. We've got to keep building on all of this."
James added: "This evening I did a big PB (personal best), so I'm really happy."
A blend of experience and youth had arrived in Great Britain colours at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome for the inaugural Glasgow World Cup, the new Olympic cycle bringing the opportunity to experiment with combinations for Great Britain’s coaches.
A handful of Olympic gold medallists were complemented by the rising talent of British Cycling’s Academy. European junior individual and team pursuit champion Elinor Barker was to ride the team pursuit whilst Jon Dibben, fifth in the under 23 race at the road world championships in Limburg, was given his UCI Track Cycling World Cup debut.
The morning of qualifying began with the men’s team pursuit, which featured none of the Olympic winning quartet from London. World champion in the discipline, Andy Tennant, part of the five man squad which went to the Games, was joined by Academy riders Owain Doull, Joe Kelly and Sam Harrison.
Going out in the last heat and needing to better Germany’s 4.07.005 to make the gold medal ride that evening, they were well placed to hit their schedule of 4.03 before the crash which felled all but Owain Doull after Joe Kelly overlapped on the former’s wheel – causing himself, Harrison and Tennant to hit the deck hard when just five laps from the finish. Fortunately there were no serious injuries though Tennant required stitches.
Men's endurance academy coach Chris Newton said: "The first thing was we want to get everyone down into the medical room, just assess how badly injured they were.
"Andy lost a little bit of blood there, so we want to get that assessed, a few skinned riders there as well.
"Man two, Joe, overlapped the wheel and lost it. Man three and four (Harrison and Tennant) came down straight into him. We were holding a good schedule there, whether there was a minute slowing within rider one (Doull) it's too early to assess.
"We'll look at the data and see where we go from there. The guys were doing really well. It's disappointing to crash.”
Tennant added: "I don't know what it was. Without looking at the video you can never tell. When you're trying to ride that close, it's really difficult. It's a high skill.”
The women’s event offered more promise, young Barker looking for the most part at ease with Olympic and world champions King and Trott after a false start initially in qualifying.
They led until the final kilometre, when Trott found herself isolated ahead with King and Barker well back, the trio managing to salvage the situation, 3.24.657 enough for the gold medal ride against Australia and ending a run of six consecutive world records.
The final was a more controlled effort and paid dividends with Great Britain improving by over three seconds, completing the 3km in 3:21.043 to continue a remarkable winning run in the discipline – Barker deservedly earning more plaudits in the process.
Trott assessed: "Qualifying didn't go that great. We had a break after the Games, so we were never going to come into this with top form.
"It was a bit like hope for the best and see what happens. We changed two things from qualification. Me and Elinor had to do half a lap longer each to take a bit away from Dani."
As with the pursuit choices, the team sprint brought more fresh faces. Clancy, who admitted to concerns of being left behind by sprint-specialists Hindes and Kenny, had no issues latching onto Kenny’s wheel to give plenty of encouragement to sprint coaches Iain Dyer and Jan Van Eijden over the two rides which culminated in silver. Times of 44.134 and 44.175 in qualifying and the final respectively.
Clancy, 27, said: "You try to talk it down, but you do feel it a bit when you're riding with two Olympic champions who have just done a world record and you're in the Chris Hoy Velodrome, keeping his seat warm for him.
"It's like 'bloody hell, hope I'm not riding round on my own for three laps', so it could've been worse.
"I think I did a reasonable job. I feel it's been a good place to start, but we have got some way to go if we're going to win the worlds and beat world records and so on."
Becky James and Jess Varnish, U23 European women’s team sprint champions in 2011, matched their triumph at the Cali Track World Cup with a relatively comfortable win. Qualifying in first and backing it up in the final to keep their 100% record in the event in this season’s world cup series, 33.428 just over a second out from the world record.
This time though it was Varnish who reverted to the standing lap role she occupied in London after James had took on the job in Cali.
In the qualifying for the scratch race, Simon Yates was part of the group which lapped the field to secure his spot for the final. Yates then placed himself in the bunch finish in the final but was ousted to the line to take fifth.
Jon Dibben competed in the first three events of the omnium in the flying lap, points race and elimination race - placing fifth, 14th and 10th respectively.