GB's Neah Evans claims stunning first world title on final day of Track World Championships

Great Britain finishes with 10 medals, after Madison silver and elimination race bronze

Neah Evans stands with Great Britain flag after winning points race at Track World Championships 2022
(Image credit: Getty)

In a last gasp attack, Neah Evans (Great Britain) surged to victory in the women's points race, topping the scoreboard to claim her first world title at the UCI Track World Championships.

"It was chaotic, fun chaotic," the 32-year-old said, beaming with joy after her win.

Evans had initially stretched out an early lead, winning two of the opening three sprints, before Denmark’s Julie Leth stole a lap on the field and bumped her from top spot.

After the Brit managed to regain a lap herself, Leth scored a second and tightened her grip on the gold medal. Evans then dipped her head, kicked hard on the pedals and, with just two laps remaining, emptied herself to gain a second lap and clinch the title. 

“When [Leth] went again, I was like ‘oh, ok, we need to go,’” she told Cycling Weekly. “I felt I still had gas left in my legs, but trying to get across on your own is really hard, so I was trying to wait and get people to come with me and work with them.”

With this victory, Evans crowned a stellar season in which she also claimed a silver medal in the team pursuit and three British track titles. Her success, she says, is in part thanks to a change in personal coaching, with her partner Jonny Wale taking on the role earlier this year. 

“I’ve been enjoying having him as a coach,” Evans said. “It’s really nice to get a good result to kind of almost vindicate it, to say ‘yes, that worked.’”

The Brit was left “frustrated” after Saturday's Madison when her partner, five-time Olympic gold medallist Laura Kenny, was brought down in a crash three laps from the end. 

“That’s track racing,” Evans said. "You need luck on the day, so it was really nice that I had the luck today.” 

Leth came second in the event with 53 points, seven fewer than Evans. Jennifer Valente (USA), who won the omnium on Friday, took the bronze medal.  

Madison madness

Ethan Hayter and Ollie Wood perform Madison handsling

(Image credit: Getty)

Like Evans earlier in the afternoon, the British pair of Ethan Hayter and Ollie Wood had to make a late dash in the men’s Madison to win the silver medal. 

The event was dominated by Frenchmen Benjamin Thomas and Donavan Grondin, who chipped away at the sprints, before cementing their victory with a lap gain. 

Going into the final sprint, four countries including Great Britain were tied in second place on 37 points. Wood and Hayter roared off the front with a few laps to go, pipping the rest of the field to the line and taking maximum points. 

Speaking to Cycling Weekly after the race, Wood said: “[I was] looking at the scoreboard thinking ‘bloody hell, we’re going to come fifth’, and it’s not what I get out of bed for in the morning.

“I keep telling people I get out of bed to win medals. And Ethan’s done alright for himself.”

On Saturday, Hayter successfully defended his omnium title to claim his second rainbow jersey of the week, having already won the team pursuit. Reflecting on the championships, the 24-year-old said: “It couldn’t have gone much better, I don’t think.

“I haven’t really had a chance to take it all in because of how intense the last couple of days were,” Hayter added. 

Elia Viviani strikes gold

Elia Viviani takes gold in the elimination race at the Track World Championships

(Image credit: Getty)

Olympic gold medallist Elia Viviani (Italy) made it back-to-back victories in the elimination race, beating Corbin Strong (New Zealand) to the line in the final sprint. 

The Italian looked unshakeable throughout the event, which was neutralised twice due to crashes in the bunch. Great Britain’s Ethan Vernon earned himself the bronze medal, bringing his country’s final medal tally to 10.  

After failing to qualify for the 500m time trial finals on Saturday, Germany’s Lea Sophie Friedrich got back to winning ways with a gold medal in the women’s keirin. The 22-year-old stood on the podium's top step in tears, dressed in her second rainbow jersey of the championships, and the seventh of her senior career. 

Great Britain's Sophie Capewell was knocked out in the event's semifinals. 

In the men’s sprint, Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) claimed his 11th world title, easing to a 2-0 victory against Australia’s Matthew Richardson. The latter’s compatriot, Matthew Glaetzer, claimed bronze in the play-off against Rudyk Mateusz (Poland). 

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Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.