Emily Nelson took the first gold medal for the British team at the 2019 UEC European Track Championships, as Elia Viviani also took a title on the opening day of racing.
Nelson rode a measured and perfectly executed women’s scratch race on Wednesday (October 16) in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, taking the gold medal ahead of Shannon McCurley (Irl) in silver and Maria Martins (Por) in Bronze.
Italian sprinter Viviani made an emphatic return to the track after a successful road season, taking the gold medal in the elimination race.
Speaking after her victory, 22-year-old Nelson said: “I started my sprint a couple of laps earlier than I usually would, but I knew I wanted to lead out rather than try to get around other riders.
“I’m really happy with the jersey, especially with it being my first elite European title.”
The men’s team sprint squad fought hard in their event, but were kept off the top spot of the podium by the Dutch team.
GB riders Ryan Owens, Jack Carlin, and Jason Kenny took the silver medal behind the Dutch outfit of Jeffrey Hoogland, Harrie Lavreysen and Roy van den Burg, with the French team taking bronze.
In the men’s elimination race, Elia Viviani took gold ahead of Bryan Coquard (Fra) who took silver and Poland’s Filip Prokopyszyn.
Britain’s Matt Walls, the defending champion, was edged out of the medals in the final laps and finished fourth.
Russia won gold in the women’s team sprint, Germany silver and Netherlands bronze.
In the team pursuits, the women’s squad looked dominant and easily qualified for the gold medal final on Thursday (October 17), while the men’s team struggled and will fight for the bronze medal against Germany on the second day.
The final day will also see Neah Evans race the women’s elimination event, Walls back in action for the men’s scratch race and both individual sprint competitions decided.