British Cycling’s junior riders continued the nation’s dominance of team pursuiting when they won the European title on Wednesday in Cottbus, Germany.
The quartet of Adam Blythe, Petter Kennaugh Mark McNally and Luke Rowe rode in appalling conditions on the semi-covered 333m concrete track, posting a time of 4-51 minutes.
The British team put in two consistent rides in qualifying and the final while other teams struggled with the wet, windy and cold conditions, including the Spanish who crashed.
Olympic Academy rider Steven Burke took bronze in the individual pursuit for U23 riders. Burke lost in the semi final to Belgian time trial world champion Dominique Cornu, but as fastest loser was awarded the bronze medal.
Also on the opening night of racing, the junior sprinters won silver in the team sprint. Chris Lyte, David Daniell and Pete Mitchell qualified in second place. Sprint Coach Iain Dyer then decided to change strategies for the final, knowing something special was needed to overhaul the French.
Tom Buck was brought in to replace Mitchell and the trio rode different gears, and to a different plan. The change looked to have worked as the Brits built a lead over the first two laps, but on the third, the French came back to snatch gold.
The U23 team sprinters, Jason Kenny, Matt Crampton and (junior) David Daniell qualified in second place, and then gave Britain another medal by coming third in the finals with Poland second and France first.
Junior sprinter Jess Farnish was knocked out in the semi-finals of the sprint competition, but goes for bronze tonight, while in the female U23 sprint competition both Anna Blythe and Lucy Ayres were knocked out in the first round.