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Great Britain Cycling Team track sprinter Becky James won the women’s 500m time-trial to begin her National Track Championships in the perfect fashion.
The 20-year-old, part of the British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme, went out on track last in the event but wasn’t to be denied, starting the five-day competition with a new personal best time of 34.763.
The Abergavenny RC rider will now hope to continue her form in the kierin and sprint events - two titles she won at last year’s contest - whilst also being set for the team sprint with her sister Rachel. “This is the start of my season now,” James said after her win.
“The beginning of the season hasn’t been a very good start with appendicitis and an Achilles injury.
“So this is the beginning of my season and it is really good to go out and set a PB when I’m still in a hard block of training.”
In the men’s individual pursuit, Owain Doull – on the back of his efforts for Great Britain in the Tour of Britain – beat Jonathan Dibben for gold with a catch. Douglas Dewey of Terra Footwear backed up his impressive qualifying ride with bronze.
The evening’s other event, the para-cycling time-trial, saw an appearance from Paralympic gold medallist Mark Colbourne. But the Welshman was forced to settle for silver as Sophie Thornhill piloted by Megan Boyd savoured the win.
With none of Great Britain’s London Olympic medallists present, the championships looked set to offer the chance for future talent to shine at the start of the journey to the 2016 Rio Games - and a number of British Cycling Olympic Academy and Podium Programme athletes willingly obliged.
The opening men’s individual pursuit qualifiers set the tone for the evening. Owain Doull and Jonathan Dibben – both part of the Great Britain setup - went out in the last heat and set up a gold and silver medal final, Doull getting the better of the his younger colleague in a time of 4:26.820.
Doull - in the colours of 100% ME - made sure there was no reverse in the final and stormed out of the gate, eventually catching Dibben in an impressive showing.
The sprinters were equally competent. National junior women’s sprint champion Dannielle Khan – also on the Great Britain programme - was first to ride in a women’s 500m time-trial field that included senior national sprint champion Becky James, Victoria Williamson and double junior road world champion Lucy Garner.
Her time of 36.040 was enough for the lead up until the final two – Great Britain Academy Programme duo Victoria Williamson and Becky James. The former managed 35.749 but national sprint and kierin champion James ousted her, completing the two laps in 34.763 to take the title on the same day she was confirmed in Great Britain’s team for the Cali round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup.