Jess Roberts bagged Team GB’s best result at the European Track Championships in Munich on Friday. The Welsh rider took second in the 10km Scratch race towards then end of the first day of medal races in Munich.
Roberts played a tactically perfect race, committing only to bring back a late three woman move who were chasing a lone French leader six laps out. Swinging off, she then followed German Lea Lin Teutenberg who caught the French leader, but stranded Roberts on the front for the final three laps.
With a decent lead she might have held on, but Norwegian Anita Stenberg stormed around the outside coming over the top of Roberts with half a lap to go. The 23 year-old former national road champion held on for an excellent silver medal.
The first day and a half of the six day track championships were purely qualifying events, but Friday evening’s session saw six gold medals awarded on the 200m, temporary track.
There were two more medals for Team GB, the men’s Team Pursuit and Team Sprint teams both winning bronze.
In the team pursuit Ryhs Britton, Oli Wood, Charlie Tanfield and Kian Emadi beat Germany in the bronze medal race. The British team dominated, taking the lead on the first lap and holding that advantage until the finish, eventually winning by close on 1.5 seconds.
The final was an entertaining affair with both France and Denmark trading punches early in the race. Denmark were down to three men early in the piece, but appeared to be holding on. However, when the French took the lead after just under 3,000m the Danes capitulated, eventually losing by well over a second.
Having been fourth best throughout qualifying, Team GB’s women’s team pursuit quartet finished in the same place, losing out in the bronze medal race to an in form French squad. The British quartet of Anna Morris, Josie Knight, Jess Roberts and Neah Evans were caught by the French with only 2,700m done.
The event was won by the Olympic and world champions Germany after a fantastic battle with the Italians who led early on. They refused to lie down even when the Germans got on terms, the lead going one way then the other before the Germans finally took control only in the last three laps.
In the end they beat the Italians by well over half a second, clocking 4-10-87, more than six seconds off the world record they set in Tokyo last year.
Britain’s men were dominant in the Team Sprint bronze medal race, making the event appear smooth and controlled as opposed to the explosion of power it is. They led the Polish trio from the gun, eventually winning the three lap event by over half a second, their time of 35.173 good enough to have easily beaten France, who rode for gold against the imperious Dutch.
World champions, the Dutch were always the team to beat. Their time might have been nowhere near their world record, but they put almost a second into the French, though the latter team suffered a poor start.
World champions Germany qualified fastest for the women’s Team Sprint, and showed their class, though the Dutch team did anything but capitulate, pushing the Germans hard, though it was the world champions who took the title.
Earlier in the day the British women suffered a catastrophic Team Sprint, failing to finish, though through no fault of their own. First Lauren Bell pulled her foot out of the pedal in the opening metres, then, after the restart, the trio suffered a horrendous, mystery, high speed crash, Sophie Capewell’s the rear tyre stepping out on the straight and taking out Emma Finucane.
The day’s final event was the men’s Points race. Belgian, Robbie Ghys put the cat among the pigeons taking an early lap, German, Roger Kluge responding, but it was world champion, Frenchman Benjamin Thomas who chipped away, picking up points in characteristic style.
The race became a battle between Thomas and Ghys, the Frenchman defending the lead he took with 60 of the 200 laps remaining, and though he went into the final lap only two points ahead he bossed the sprint to take the title.
Only five events will be decided during Saturday’s session, with the women’s 500m TT opening the day and followed by the women’s and men’s Individual Pursuit, women’s Elimination race and men’s Scratch.
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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.
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