Great Britain make history on first day of Track Cycling World Championships

Three titles were awarded on the opening day, in the women’s scratch race and the men's and women's team sprints

Great Britain Track Cycling World Championships
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The 2021 UCI Track Cycling World Championships began on Wednesday at the Jean-Stablinski Velodrome in Roubaix, with three titles awarded: in the women’s scratch race and the men's and women's team sprints.

The Great Britain Cycling Team secured a historic bronze medal in the women's team sprint, their first World Championships medal in the event in its new three-rider format.

Sophie Capewell, Blaine Ridge-Davis and Millicent Tanner managed to secure the bronze medal for Great Britain, after Lauren Bate had featured during the qualifying round. The team qualified for the first round fourth fastest, where they beat Poland to set up a third place contest against Japan. 

The trio finished half a second ahead of the Japan team, capping off an impressive month for the women's team sprint squad that also saw them finish fourth at the UEC European Track Championships. 

Blain Ridge-Davis said afterwards: “It feels unreal, I’m lost for words. It’s my first World Championships and Milly’s, and to be coming away with a medal is just unreal. I’m just so happy for all of us. We put in the work every single day and to see it pay off for all of us is a dream come true.” 

Millicent Tanner added: “Paris [Olympics in 2024] is the ultimate goal, and it’s gone from a dream to a physical target written down, and I think that’s a really exciting thing in itself. These little markers keep building our confidence and that’s what we need going forwards. We need to keep chipping away and doing what we do, and hopefully we’ll get there.” 

Germany won the women's team sprint with an astonishing world record of 46.064 seconds, securing the nation their sixth gold in the event over the last ten years. The Russian Cycling Federation finished second, ahead of Great Britain. 

Meanwhile, USA's Jennifer Valente picked up the bronze medal in the women's scratch race, as Italian 21-year-old Martina Vidanza opened up a significant gap to win the gold medal, covering the 40 laps in 13-13mins. Valente, the Olympic champion in the Omnium, was also beaten by Maike van der Duin, who secured the silver medal.

In the men's team sprint, the Netherlands claimed a fourth consecutive World Championship title, while France took silver. Germany joined them on the podium.

The Great Britain men's team pursuit team will also battle against Olympic silver medallists Denmark for the bronze medal, after Italy beat them in the first round. Another third place would add to the bronze medal they picked up at the UEC European Track Championships in Grenchen earlier this month.

Italy, led by Filippo Ganna, and France, who beat their national record, will race for the men's team pursuit gold medal later on Thursday. 

Great Britain also qualified third fastest in the women's team pursuit, behind Germany and Italy, with the first round and finals of the event also today. 

On day two of the Track Cycling World Championships, five rainbow jerseys will be awarded, including the men's and women's team pursuits, men's scratch race, men's keirin and women's elimination.

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Staff Writer

Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.