Olympic champion Laura Trott won gold in the omnium on the final day of the 2015/16 UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Hong Kong on Sunday in an impressive battle with long-term rival Sarah Hammer.
Trott’s win, along with bronze for Jason Kenny in the men’s sprint, helped to seal overall victory for Great Britain in both the event and the 2015/16 world cup series.
Trott was in the driving seat after the opening three events on Saturday. Fourth in the morning’s 500-metre time trial and third in the flying lap left Trott with an 18-point lead on Hammer with Laurie Berthon of France a further two points behind in third.
The decisive points race saw Hammer and Trott track each other for the first four sprints and it wasn’t until sprint five that they showed their faces, the American gaining a point on the Briton.
Sprint seven saw Hammer and Berthon gain ground but barring a lap gain it was too little too late. Come the penultimate sprint Hammer and Trott jumped off the front, Trott marking her opponent and overtaking on the line.
The 23-year-old from Harlow stamped her superiority at the final sprint, chasing down the late escapees to extend her winning margin and send out a strong message to her opponents with the world championships approaching.
“I think this track, because it's quite grippy, I think it took the steam out of everybody and it ended up just being a race where you could just follow and sit in a lot more,” said Trott.
“I've really enjoyed it actually - I wasn't looking forward to the points race - after three days doing the team pursuit as well yesterday it really did take it out of me and I was worried how I was going to feel,” Trott continued.
“With 20 laps to go because I'd already won I was like 'should I just attack' but it kind of left me on the back foot.
“So I thought, ‘I best just to get to the finish’ and I guess that's what I did."
Trott’s win, combined with her gold in round one left her second in the world cup rankings on 300 points, eight behind world cup-winner Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands.
Jason Kenny took an excellent bronze in the sprint, beating Francois Pervis of France in two straight rides.
Kenny, who won team sprint gold on Saturday, had to overcome teammate Callum Skinner in the quarter finals, beating the Scot 2-0 and setting up a semi-final draw against Australia’s Patrick Constable.
Constable took the first heat, distancing Kenny before the bell and giving the Olympic champion too much to do. Kenny led the second heat out but Constable had great acceleration and came over the top to progress to the gold final, leaving Kenny with a battle against Francois Pervis of France for bronze.
Kenny took first blood, reeling in the 200-metre world record holder over the final lap. The second match was a tactical tour de force from the Bolton man, using the track to his advantage to take a massive scalp ahead of the world championships.
"It's good to go the distance in the sprint competition for a change - not done that in a while," said Kenny.
"It's a tricky track to ride it's a bit different to normal. Obviously there's a few names missing but the standard's been really good today so I'm pretty pleased with the result to be honest."
And then the boy just took bronze @JasonKenny107— Laura Trott (@LauraTrott31) January 17, 2016
Callum Skinner’s efforts were rewarded with sixth place in the minor final.
Mark Cavendish just missed the medals in the men’s omnium, finishing in fourth place.
Cavendish, in his world cup return, had mixed fortunes in the first three events on Saturday but eleventh in the kilometre and fourth in the flying lap left the Manxman in medal contention ahead of the final points race.
The 2011 road world champion made his intentions clear, winning the first sprint and moving into third behind leader Kazakh Zakharov and Boudat of France, but Olympic omnium champion Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark responded in the next sprint to retake the bronze medal position.
Hansen struck again in sprint three, putting daylight between himself and the 30-year-old British rider. The Dane continued to gain ground as the race progressed, battling with Boudat and, save for a late lap attempt with Beyer of Germany, Cavendish was riding to protect fourth position.
"I'm really pleased, personally," said Cavendish. "I did better than I thought I was going to do. I'd have been happy with a top ten here so to get fourth..."
"It's been a great group atmosphere - we've won the weekend, won the world cup overall so it's nice to be a part of that."
After taking silver in the team sprint with Jess Varnish, Katy Marchant was back in action in the keirin. But third in her keirin first round heat meant the former heptathlete faced the repechage, another third place putting an end to her hopes of a further medal.
Great Britain Cycling Team head coach Iain Dyer summed up the overall team performance.
"Really, really encouraged by this weekend's team performance across the board," Dyer said.
"We've had established riders do what they do best and we've had young riders step up and be counted, which is great too.
"There's some good momentum in the team. Belief is there and really looking forward to the worlds in London in just over a month's time."