Jon Dibben won Great Britain’s second gold medal of the Track World Championships in London in the points race. The 22-year-old showed an incredible turn of speed at the end of the notoriously grueling race to ride away with two-laps remaining to secure maximum points on the line, and with them the gold medal.
It capped off an impressive day for team GB who, rocked by poor performances on day one, added another two bronze medals to their tally.
Having won silver as part of the men’s team pursuit the day before, Dibben went one step further in the points race to win gold. “Any medal would have been a massive, massive result and I would have been just as delighted as I am now — to get the gold medal and the world champs jersey is shocking to me,” he said.
While the points race is not an Olympic discipline, it is one of the main events in the omnium, for which Rio selection is still to be decided between the 22-year-old and Mark Cavendish.
“[Winning] certainly doesn’t do any harm,” Dibben continued. “I’ll see how Cav goes and I’ll hopefully keep progressing like I am.” The last Briton to win a points race title was Simon Yates in Belarus 2013.
Elsewhere, the women’s team pursuit squad salvaged their Track Worlds with a bronze medal, after recording a blistering ride in the first round qualifier on Friday to allow them to contest the medal.
The squad had a disastrous qualifying round on Thursday when they finished fifth, and faced missing out on a medal altogether for the first time in the eight years. However, the quartet of Joanna Rowsell Shand, Laura Trott, Elinor Barker and Ciara Horne came back firing.
Racing first against China on Friday it was a complete reversal of fortunes on their previous ride, as they improved their time by five seconds, set the event’s third-ever fastest time of 4-16.350, which is also a new British record. They then went on to best New Zealand for the medal.
Gold in the event went to the USA who must now be considered potentially the team to beat come Rio in August. For most of their round one contest against defending champions Australia early on Friday, they were riding on world record pace.
Andy Tennant added GB’s second bronze of the day in the individual pursuit, beating his fellow team pursuiter and Team Wiggins team-mate Owain Doull into fourth.
“It’s really weird going against your team-mate,” Tennant said. “It meant a lot to me to win, I’ve been struggling the last couple of weeks.”
Mark Cavendish placed seventh overall at the halfway stage of the omnium, after the first three of six rounds. He finished sixth in the opening scratch race, before coming 13th in the individual pursuit, and ended the day with second in the elimination race. Defending champion Fernando Gavaria (Colombia) leads the contest so far, having won two of the events, with Italy’s Elia Viviani currently second.
At the start of the day Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner appeared to put the disappointment of Wednesday’s team sprint behind them, as both made it through to Saturday’s quarter finals in the match sprint – Skinner had to beat defending champion Grègory Bauge to do so while Jason Kenny defeated the ever improving Edward Dawkins (New Zealand).
Katy Marchant finished fifth in the women’s 500-metres time trial.