FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Track Worlds 2016 – Scratching for gold

Posted in England, London by folkestonejack on March 3, 2016

The second day of the UCI Track Cycling World Championships brought about a good haul of medals for Team GB, starting with a brilliant victory for Laura Trott in the women’s scratch final that must have gone some way towards making up for the disappointment of a poor qualifying performance for the women in the Team Pursuit. A first gold for Team GB in these world championships and hopefully not the last!

Laura Trott and Maria Giulia Confalonieri before the start of the scratch final

Laura Trott and Maria Giulia Confalonieri before the start of the scratch final

The 40 lap scratch race was a more controlled race than the men’s equivalent yesterday, with no-one able to put a lap on the field and the leading contenders marked throughout. A few laps from the finish Laura Trott made her move to escape the peloton and join the leading group, naturally accompanied by a deafening roar from all around the velodrome. In the last half a lap Trott put in a burst of all-or-nothing speed to stake her claim to a world championship jersey.

The capacity crowd in the velodrome were even more vocal in their support for the local heroes in the men’s pursuit team as they fought Australia for gold. An early lead 0.6 second for Australia was overhauled by the three-quarters mark and the team held a slender lead as they entered the final 250 metres. The atmosphere in the velodrome was incredible at this point with everyone screaming, cheering and making noise in any way they could – by far the loudest that I have heard in the velodrome (apparently registering 115 decibels according to a reading taken on the night).

Bradley Wiggins, Owain Doull, Jon Dibben and Ed Clancy line up for the final of the Men's Team Pursuit

Bradley Wiggins, Owain Doull, Jon Dibben and Ed Clancy line up for the final of the Men’s Team Pursuit

Sadly it was not to be – Ed Clancy dropped off the back in the run up to the line, his energy spent (nevertheless, Ed Clancy has made an astonishing return to the track given that he underwent back surgery just 12 weeks ago). Australia’s seriously impressive winning time of 3 minutes 52.727 was a national record and the second fastest time ever set in the team pursuit. It will be fascinating to see a re-match at the Rio Olympics later this year.

The other gold medal up for grabs tonight went to Kristina Vogel in the Women’s Keirin, having successfully held off the legendary Australian track cyclist Anna Meares and Team GB’s Rebecca James. Vogel’s story is quite remarkable – a car crash in 2009 left her in a coma but she recovered to take olympic gold in 2012. Who would not bet on her adding more to her palmarès in Rio?

Results

Men’s Team Pursuit
Women’s Keirin
Women’s Scratch race

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