Christian Lyte leads the group through the forest roads near Cottbus, on a recovery spin
There was also time for some gym and track training for the young sprinters and on Tuesday it was gym day for most of the riders. The Sportschool in Cottbus has two gyms and the Brits used the largest one which happens to be the oldest gym and also one in need of refurbishment. That said, it did have everything the team needed to continue their training despite being away from home!
The sportschool gym in Cottbus will have seen many champions through it's doors over the years.
Nearly everyone came through midweek ok. Unfortunately Becky James, who had earlier impressed at the Sprintercup meeting the previous weekend, came down with a sinus problem and despite warming up on the morning of the first day was forced to withdraw from the competition.
Elite Men’s Sprint
In the Elite men’s competition, a field of 61 male sprinters lined up for the flying 200 metre qualification sprint early on Friday morning. Dave Daniell faired the best of the Brits with an impressive 10.29secs earning him 4th seeding; followed by Jason Kenny in 6th with 10.34.
Academy sprinters Christian Lyte and Pete Mitchell both improved greatly from the preceeding weekends qualifying with 10.75 and 10.56 respectively whilst top qualifier was Carsten Bergmann (Ger) with 10.22.
With everyone going forward to the first round, there were no less than fourteen four-up-heats and a five rider heat in order to progress to the next round. From this round, only Dave Daniell and Olympic champion Jason Kenny managed to go straight through, with Pete and Christian having to go to the repechages where Christian fought his way through to the next round.
The second round demonstrated yet again the phenomenal depth of talent European, and German sprinting in particular, has to offer. Once again, Dave and Jason won through their very competitive three-up heats and Christian survived the repechage again.
By the time the competition had reached the 1/8th round stage, it seemed liked the racing had been on all day with National Sprint coach Iain Dyer saying that “the World (Track) Cups seem so straight forward by comparison!”
With the competition getting ever harder, if that was possible in such a fierce competition, the Brits continued to give everything they could but it was the end of the race for Christian whilst Dave and Jason both went out in the quarter finals and into the 5-8 final.
Here Jason won through to finish 5th followed home by Dave who was later relegated to 8th for an infringement in this minor finale. It was Rene Enders of Germany who won through in the end to take the spoils, with Carsten Bergmann, the top qualifier in 3rd. Germany's Michael Siedenbecher had contested the final against Enders, but a second warning saw him disqualified from the overall standings, so no second place was awarded.
Following Becky's withdrawl, it was left for Helen Scott and Charline Joiner (City of Edinburgh) to fly the flag for the GB team. Helen couldn't quite match her qualifying pace from earlier in the week and was 6th in 12.05secs whilst Charline was 8th in 12.38, a time which matched her Personal Best.
The match racing from then on however proved too tough for the girls though and they were left to rue those split second decisions which separate 1st from 2nd; eventually ending up 7th and 8th respectively. Germany's Dana Gloss took the spoils for her compatriot Miriam Welte.
On the first day of this competition, junior rider Kevin Stewart from the Olympic Development Programme, and representing City of Edinburgh in the competition, had the Kierin to contend with.
As with the previous week, Kevin had to contend with strength in numbers from the home nation plus some Czech Juniors who had tagged along with their senior counterparts. Kevin did well in his first round and semi final to get to the final where he placed 4th.
The first day for the riders and coaches felt like quite a physical battering, especially for the guys who had got through to the latter stages of the Sprint tournament and it was certainly a long day at the office for the Brits and the rest of the competitors.
Jason Kenny shows that to sit down is good, but to lie down is better... And to sleep is even better still....
Day 2 -- Cottbus Sprint GP
The second day of competition in the Cottbus Sprint GP brought a much welcome lie-in with the Keirin starting later in the day and the Junior men's flying 200 metre for their Sprint event coming just after the senior men's Keirin competition.
As it did on day 1 in the Sprint competition, the size of the field and the strength in-depth was very impressive. For the Elite Men, there were seven heats of eight riders and a heat of 9!
Again, both Dave and Jason led the way by qualifying from their first two rounds in great style to get to the three heat semi-final format. Christian however couldn't repeat his sprint performance from day 1 and went out after the 1st round repecharge, but it was now Pete's turn to have a good run.
Pete missed qualifying directly (top 2) in both round 1 and 2 in photo-finishes and both times came back through the repecharge to fight on. With three Brits in the three heat semis, hopes were high of qualifying a finalist, but it was not to be. All boys effectively finishing in equal 13th, the top tier of riders not to make the final ride off for the places.
The girls were looking to lift themselves from the previous day but once again found the competition too hot, and none managed to make the final six from the field of eight.
In the Junior Men’s sprint competition, the signs for Kevin after qualifying were good after he set the fastest flying 200 metre time of 10.96 with over a tenth of a second in hand to his nearest rival.
The question was, could he survive the match sprinting against the local guys who were all very experienced on the big concrete 333metre Cottbus track. The coaches needn't have worried because growing in confidence with every ride, Kevin raced with skill and good judgement, winning each of his rounds in turn.
The semi final looked dangerous against the local rider Eric Engler, but he dealt with him well, winning from the front. Kevin then faced the Czech rider Karel Matejka in the final. Launching his attack at the beginning of the last lap, it proved to be a demolition job with Kevin having time to enjoy his victory in the final metres. It was a mature performance from the ODP rider, who will no doubt have learned a great deal ahead of his main summer objectives.
Kev on the podium day two (sprint) pictured with Metejka (2nd) and Engler (3rd).
The Great Britain riders are all now back in the UK putting finishing touches to their preparation for the Junior and Under 23 European track Championships in Minsk in July as they await final team selection decisions.
Four days of top class competition in nine days has proved a valuable experience for them and that includes the regular international riders and has given them all something to focus on in the coming weeks training.