Sam Harrison strikes Gold in Beijing

Sam Harrison strikes Gold in Beijing


Sam Harrison strikes Gold in Beijing


In one single event, Sam Harrison has announced himself as a big player on the World Track racing scene. The Welsh sensation, Sam Harrison, 18, showed himself to be a star of the future with victory in the gruelling Men’s Omnium on day 2 of the Beijing Track Cycling World Cup. It was the second victory by a British rider in this event during the World Cup series after Ed Clancy won in Cali (Columbia). Beijing is Harrison‘s first World Cup and in 2010, he rode the Commonwealth Games for Wales where he narrowly missed out on a medal.

A delighted Harrison on the top step of the podium in Beijing.

Harrison went into the second day of competition in second place and quickly moved up a place into the lead with a second place in the 4,000 Men‘s Individual Pursuit behind Ireland‘s Martyn Irvine whose time for the 4k was only a few hundreths faster than Harrison.  A very tactical Scratch race then followed and despite only finishing in 10th place, the Academy rider showed great experience to make sure he was never far away from his main rivals who finished in 9th and 12th place.

The finale was the time trial event, the Kilometre, and yet again, Harrison (1.04.494) showed just what a great choice he was for the Omnium event when he was second to Czech rider Alois Kanjorski (1.04.394). Whilst Harrison didn’t win any of the individual events, he was very consistent. On day 1, Sam was 3rd, 5th 6th and then on day 2 was even better with two seconds and a 10th.

"It's pretty amazing really and I'm quite shocked" Sam said when he spoke to British Cycling shortly after the event. “I only came here for experience and just to ride an Omnium because I think my style of riding suits it. So I'm really pleased with how it worked out."

"It is a really difficult event." Sam admits. “You get into the zone for racing and usually when its finished, you can relax but with the Omnium you have to keep repeating that going in and out of the zone  and it gets more stressful as it goes on. Ending with the Kilo too, that's even more stressful and you can't wait for it to be over!"

"The reason I won was because I able to be consistent but it could have been better because there were mistakes I made like with my Flying Lap and I think I can definitely improve my Kilo. There is a lot to work on but its great to come away with the win and it boosts my confidence and morale."
The Scratch race, Sam agreed, was a very tactical race with the riders at the top of the Omniumn leader board watching each other like hawks. "Yes, that was really really tactical. Roger Kluge, Zach Bell and me were watching each other for the whole thing and it became quite stressful. We were all following each other and then one person would go, and then the other and it was really tough. Luckily I was able to slip away with Zach at the end and I knew even if I finished just behind him, it would still be down to who ever was ahead in the Kilo so it worked out spot on."

Asked how important it was to have former World Points champion Chris Newton as his coach, Sam explained "Chris has an unbelievable amount of experience and after the qualifier which was a Points race as well, he gave me some real good advice about awareness  and when to use your energy and he was a really big help and I think made a difference."

The finish of the Kilo was the highlight says Sam. “You go through every event and are happy that it’s done with but straight away you’re thinking about the next event so you’re always quite stressed. So crossing the line for the Kilo and seeing the time and that'd I won overall was really good because I knew then no-one could take it away from me. It was a pretty emotional time!"

Sam went on to explain that since the Commonwealth Games when he was at college and not a full time rider,  now, like all the riders on the Olympic Academy, he has the time to put the hard work in and that has made a big difference especially with the help from Chris Newton, the Academy coach.

Sam now has his sights on the Manchester Track Cycling World Cup where he’d love to get a ride in the Omnium again.  “This has been quite a boost and I have good form at the moment so I just want to race and get as  much experience as I can.

Sam, like the lads in the Team Pursuit can now relax for the final day of the Beijing World Cup and watch their fellow Academy rider Jon Mould race the Points race. They will then return to Manchester for an easy week before heading for Majorca and a pre-Manchester World Cup training camp.

Women’s Omnium
World Championship Silver medallist in this event, Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead, had a solid day of results on day 1 of the Women’s Omnium. In her first major track competition since the end of the Road season in 2010, Lizzie ended the day in 4th place with three events still to do. Lizzie had one victory (Points), a 9th (Flying Lap) and a 4th in the Elimination race.

The 14 points she has puts her level with the third place rider, Kirsten Wild and three points behind the second placed rider, Pascale Jeuland of France. The leader is World Champion Tara Whitten of Canada who has half the points of Lizzie, 7 and is a clear favourite to win.

Overall after day 1
1 Tara Whitten, Canada 7
2 Pascale  Jeuland, France 11
3 Kirsten Wild, Holland 14
4 Lizzie Armitstead, GBr 14

Men’s Keirin
Great Britain’s rider in this event was the North East sprinter, David Daniell and he didn’t get away to a great start with fourth place in heat 5. This meant David had to ride the repechages where he made amends, winning the race to the line and going through to the second round.

A race for a medal though was not to be when David was again fourth in his second round heat and so his next and final race in the Keirin was for 7-12 where he was second to end the competition in eighth place.  Simon Van Velthooven of New Zealand was the winner.

1  Simon Van Velthooven, NZL
2  Scott Sunderland, Aus
3   Kota Asai CCT

8 David Daniel

Women’s Sprint
Welsh rider Becky James, who had such a sensational Commonwealth Games with a  Silver medal in the Sprint, didn’t have the same success in this event in Bejiing, going out in the 1/8th round. Becky started by qualifying eighth with a time of 11.489 and came up against the Australian Emily Rosemond who had qualified a thousandth of a second slower. They were certainly even matched and so in the one off race to see who goes through to the quarter finals, it was always going to be a close encounter which the Aussie won. Overall winner was Lyubov  Shulika.

1 Lyubov  Shulika Ukraine11.841 11.758
2 Simona Krupeckaite Lithuania  
3 Lin Junhong, China 11.744 12.019
4 Clara Sanchez, France

9 Becky James, GBr