Great Britain added two more medals to their haul at the UCI Track World Championships, with an awe-inspiring gold in the men’s team pursuit and silver in the women's event.
Ethan Hayter, Dan Bigham, Ethan Vernon and Ollie Wood stormed to the country's first victory in the men’s team pursuit since 2018, beating Filippo Ganna’s Italy by two tenths of a second in the final.
The British quartet started slower than their opponents, but quickly found their rhythm, shifting seamlessly through turns to stop the clock at 3-45-829.
Speaking after the race, Hayter told Cycling Weekly he was “quite confident” the team would win, having bettered Italy’s time twice on Wednesday.
“I tried to say to the others, you know, we qualified pole position and it’s very rare the winner of the qualifier doesn’t win the Worlds,” the 24-year-old added. “I tried to rub [my confidence] off on the others.”
After his title-winning debut in the team pursuit, Bigham couldn't stop grinning. “I don’t think I really put a foot wrong," the former Hour Record holder said. "I backed myself and it was an absolute dream.
"I don’t think we could’ve done a huge amount better."
In the women's team pursuit final, it was the Italians who came out on top with a time of 4-09-770. The British women, who clocked the fastest time in round one earlier in the day, lost a second in the first few laps, and were ultimately unable to overcome the deficit.
“We pushed really hard to get to that final,” Olympic silver medalist Josie Knight told Cycling Weekly after the race. “It’s just bittersweet to come away with silver and not gold.”
Neah Evans, another member of the squad that finished second in Tokyo 2020, said: “I think at one point I said if we came away with a medal, we’d take it.
“As a team we rode really well. We had Meg [Barker], and then Anna [Morris] stepped in, a huge unknown for her, and she really rose to the occasion. Katie [Archibald] has just been phenomenal,” the Scot added.
“It’s been challenging, and there are so many positives we can take from it. It’s really exciting for the future; [we have a] new coach, there’s some fresh faces on the squad. I can’t wait to see what we can do with a bit more time working together.”
The Danish men and French women took home the bronze medals in the team pursuit, the latter claiming their country’s first podium at the home championships.
The Dutch get back to winning ways
In the men’s keirin, Harrie Lavreysen won his third consecutive title, outsprinting fellow Dutchman Jeffrey Hoogland down the home straight. “I was feeling really good today,” the 10-time world champion told Cycling Weekly. “Yesterday we lost the team sprint title, so I was really hoping to get the jersey.
“I would’ve really hated it if I couldn’t win a jersey this year, so I was really happy with the win.”
Great Britain’s Jack Carlin didn’t qualify for the keirin final, and finished seventh overall.
19-year-old Dylan Bibic (Canada) won his first senior world title in the 15km scratch race. Welshman Rhys Britton, who came third a year ago, couldn’t hold the pace on the final lap, eventually crossing the line in 14th.
In the women’s elimination race, Lotte Kopecky (Belgium) went one better than her result last year to claim her third rainbow jersey on the track. Despite being involved in a crash early on in the event, Great Britain’s Sophie Lewis hung on to place sixth.
Elsewhere, Sophie Capewell (Great Britain) bowed out in the quarterfinals of the women’s sprint, losing her opening two battles against France’s Mathilde Gros. The Frenchwoman will be joined by Laurine van Riessen (Netherlands), Lea Sophie Friedrich and the defending world champion Emma Hinze (Germany) in Friday’s semifinals. All four women convincingly won their heats 2-0.
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