Great Britain claimed a batch of bronze medals in the women’s scratch race, women’s team sprint and men’s team sprint on the opening day of the UCI Track World Championships.
“I’m honestly so happy,” Jess Roberts told Cycling Weekly after her third place in the 10km scratch race. “You always dream of getting a medal, and the scratch race can go either way.”
With five laps to go, the 23-year-old charged to the front of the pack, but couldn’t hold off Italy’s Martina Fidanza who retained her scratch race title. Maike van der Duin (Netherlands) earned herself the silver medal for the second year running.
For Roberts, her bronze medal came with a deeper significance. “My grandad passed away on Saturday, so this is a race for him,” she said. “I just wanted to get to that line and get that medal for him.”
In the men’s sprint, the Australians stopped the Netherlands from winning five world titles on the bounce, clocking a blistering time of 41.6 seconds over three laps. As he signed rainbow jerseys, Matthew Richardson described the race as being “very hard but enjoyable”.
The 23-year-old, a bronze medal winner in 2020, added: “Looking at the season we’ve had, [our] confidence was reasonable, but we didn’t let that get the better of us. You know, you’ve got to have some self belief.”
The British trio of Ali Fielding, Hamish Turnball and Olympic silver medalist Jack Carlin came out on top in their bronze medal race against Germany.
“The boys turned up and they exceeded expectations," Carlin told Cycling Weekly. “If anything, I was the weakest part of that team."
For the third consecutive year, the German women ruled over the team sprint. The highly decorated Lea Sophie Friedrich, Pauline Grabosch and Emma Hinze set a new world record of 45.983 seconds in the first round, before going on to better it with a 45.967 in their title-clinching ride.
The British women’s sprint team, who earned a historic first medal at last year’s championships, repeated their successes with another bronze medal in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, winning the play-off by eight thousandths of a second.
“I don’t really remember much of last year,” laughed Sophie Capewell after the race, before turning the attention to the medal around her neck. “It’s pretty special. I feel quite privileged to do it with these two [Emma Finucane and Lauren Bell], especially because it’s their first Worlds. That’s quite an achievement in itself.”
Great Britain book gold medal race in team pursuit
Earlier in the day, the British team pursuit teams comfortably secured their spots in Thursday’s finals.
Ethan Hayter, Dan Bigham, Ethan Vernon and Ollie Wood stunned the field to finish top in qualifying, narrowly beating the Italians with a time of 3-48-09. The Brits then faced New Zealand in the first round and won by almost two seconds, qualifying for Thursday’s gold medal race against Italy. Australia and Denmark will face off for the bronze medal.
Great Britain’s women’s team, made up of Katie Archibald, Neah Evans, Megan Barker and Josie Knight, finished second in qualifying and will face France in round one on Thursday afternoon.
Australia’s women’s team qualified in fourth, while Canada and the United States were the final two of the eight teams to go through to the first round.
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