The European Track Championships 2020 kicked off with some strong performances from British riders.
Matt Walls took gold in the men’s elimination race, while the GB squad secured silver in the first ever women’s three-rider team sprint.
The UEC European Track Championships in Plovdiv in Bulgaria are the first major event of the 2020/21 track season, with the Olympics just a few months away.
Walls, who will be joining Bora-Hansgrohe on the road next season, was the first of the Brits to visit the podium after he took gold ahead of Portugal’s Iuri Leitao and Russia’s Sergei Rostovtsev.
The 22-year-old said: “I’m really happy – it was a bit of an unknown coming here as I hadn’t done a race in a long time. I came here in pretty good form, I was just seeing if my tactics and race speed were there, so I’m glad to come away with a win. I’ve got the omnium and Madison coming later in the week, so I’m looking in good form for that.”
The next success came from the trio of Milly Tanner, Lusia Steele and Lauren Bate in the women’s team sprint.
After qualifying second with a time of 48.656, the team then went faster in the first round with a 48.116 as Blaine Ridge-David replaced Bate.
In the finals against Russia, the same trio of riders hit a 48.531, missing out to their rivals who set a 46.852.
Milly Tanner said: “It feels amazing, we came here to see what we could do and to get the ball rolling for the Paris cycle and we’ve all come away with PBs and worked on our focus points, so it feels great to come away with a silver medal.”
It was a near miss for Neah Evans in the women’s scratch race as she finished fourth, with gold going to Italy’s Martina Fidanza.
The women’s team pursuit squad also continued to show their dominance in the discipline, as Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Neah Evans and Laura Kenny qualified fastest with a time of 4-13.923, catching the Spanish team to comfortably make it through to the gold medal final on Thursday (November 12).
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