Great Britain’s Laura Trott and Emily Nelson took the first medals of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Hong Kong on Friday, with impressive rides in the scratch and points race after strong qualifying performances from Great Britain in the team events.
Just hours after qualifying fastest in the team pursuit alongside Joanna Rowsell Shand, Elinor Barker and Ciara Horne, Trott won the sprint for scratch race silver ahead of Quianyu Yang of China, with gold going to Belarus’ Marina Shmayaknova who lapped the field.
"I'm just using this weekend to get some experience again I guess," said Trott. "For me the world championships and the Olympics are obviously the most important thing so to try and get as much race experience is what I'm here for."
"The team pursuit this morning went really well, I think we're really pleased with that. It felt really smooth. We were a little bit off schedule but it came together and it was a really good ride. So that went to plan."
"And then that (the scratch race) - I just wanted to sprint to be honest," continued the current European scratch champion. "So when people were going up the road I was a bit like 'well this is annoying I'm going to be sprinting for fifth' but it all came back together and I got to sprint for a medal so that was obviously good."
Olympic Senior Academy rider Emily Nelson scored strongly in the latter half of the 80-lap points race at the Hong Kong Velodrome to secure the bronze medal. The Lichfield rider amassed 11 points, behind gold medal winner Jolien d’Hoore (Belgium) and silver medallist Jasmin Glaesser of Canada.
"I didn't go into it thinking I would get anything so I'm very happy," said Nelson.
"It was quite a hard race actually - quite a lot of people went for all the sprints at the start so I just played it a bit clever, sat in there and then got the points in the last four sprints when everyone was absolutely dead."
The medals followed strong performances from Great Britain in the team pursuit and team sprint. After the women’s team pursuiters went fastest in qualifying to set up a first round ride against China, Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Matt Crampton did likewise in the men’s team sprint, Kenny producing a scorching 12.8 second lap two to secure a gold medal ride against Poland.
In the women’s team sprint Jess Varnish and Katy Marchant also qualified for Saturday’s gold final, second fastest in qualifying with a 33.496- second ride to will face Russia’s Daria Shmeleva and Anastasia Voinova.
The quartet of Chris Latham, Mark Cavendish, Kian Emadi and Ollie Wood took sixth place in the men’s team pursuit qualification, clocking a 4:05 effort, hindered by a puncture and resulting crash from Emadi. They will face the Netherlands in the first round.
Germain Burton placed 11th in the 60-lap scratch race, with the win going to Benjamin Thomas of France, ahead of Xavier Canellas Sanchez (Spain) and Jordan Arley Parra Arias (Colombia).
The UCI Track Cycling World Cup continues on Saturday with the team pursuit and team sprint finals, the men’s and women’s omnium, women’s sprint and men’s keirin.