Will Tidball clinches 'dream' gold medal as GB claim first rainbow jerseys of World Championships

Great Britain took home two golds on the first day, when world records tumbled in the velodrome

Will Tidball wins scratch race at World Championships
(Image credit: Getty)

On his Track World Championships debut, 23-year-old Will Tidball secured a spectacular gold medal in the Scratch race, surging to victory in the final two laps.

The Brit, who lurked patiently in the bunch for most of the 60-lap race, followed the wheel of Dutchman Roy Eefting-Bloem in the finale, before powering away to the line. Fuelled by the rapture of the home crowds, Tidball then sat up in his saddle, stretched his arms out wide, and celebrated an unexpected win.

“It’s the stuff dreams are made of,” the Saint-Piran rider told Cycling Weekly inside Glasgow’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, still stunned by his feat. “I visualised winning here, and to do it was even better than I visualised. It’s pretty amazing. I can’t really believe this is really happening, to be honest."

Draped in a Devon flag, Tidball explained that his plan was to stay hidden during the race. "Hopefully the cameras didn’t notice me, hopefully the commentators didn’t really mention me,” he said. “I saved my bullet for the end, gambled that I’d get on a fast wheel like I did, and then went from there. If I had it, I had it. If I didn’t, I didn’t. But luckily, I did."

The men’s Scratch race was the final event of the night in Glasgow, and marked Great Britain’s second rainbow jersey of the new Super Worlds. The first came in the women’s blind one-kilometre time trial, with Sophie Unwin and her pilot Jenny Holl taking gold.

The pair were a second back on the Australian team's time entering the final lap of the four-lap race, but pulled it back to take victory by six hundredths of a second. The thrilling win was greeted with wild applause.

”It was hard but every kilo is,” Unwin said. “I didn’t know the splits, I didn’t know the times that had been done before us so I was thinking, ‘We’ve just got to go as hard as we can’. Having the crowd behind us was incredible.”

Germany go four in a row  

German trio of Pauline Grabosh, Emma Hinze and Lea Sophie Friedrich

German women's sprint trio Pauline Grabosch, Lea Sophie Friedrich and Emma Hinze took their fourth world title in a row. 

(Image credit: Getty)

There was almost a rainbow jersey for Great Britain's women’s team sprint squad, too. Despite beating world-record pace in the final, the trio of Emma Finucane, Sophie Capewell and Lauren Bell ended up seven hundredths of a second short off the Germans, who clocked a 45.848 and took a fourth consecutive world title.

“It’s a little bit disappointing,” Capewell told Cycling Weekly, “but we’ve always said our goal is [the Olympics] next year. This is a big stepping stone. If we look back at how far we’ve come, we’ve knocked over half a second off our time from last year.”

After two bronze medals on the trot at the previous two Track World Championships, the silver marked Great Britain’s first in the women’s team sprint since 2011. That year, when the event was just two riders, the team was pipped to gold by an Australian duo led by Kaarle McCulloch, the British squad’s current coach.

“Obviously everyone wants to win the rainbow jersey,” said Finucane. “We’ve stepped up our processes and tried to nail every ride and execute as best we could. And I feel like we did that. We couldn’t have given much more. Silver’s amazing, and looking into Paris next year, it’s really exciting.”

Dygert dominates

Chloé Dygert in US kit

Chloé Dygert earned a career fourth gold medal in the individual pursuit.

(Image credit: Getty)

In the women’s individual pursuit, the USA’s Chloé Dygert clinched her first rainbow jersey since her horror crash in 2020. The 26-year-old caught the reigning world champion, Franziska Brauße (Germany), on the home straight to record a time of 3-17.542.

Great Britain’s Neah Evans finished fourth, one second off a bronze medal. “It wasn’t the original plan to do the individual pursuit,” she told Cycling Weekly afterwards. “I did one training effort two days ago and was like, ‘Right, let’s wing it, see what happens.’”

The Scot, the defending points race world champion, will target three further events over the next week: the Madison, points race and the team pursuit.

Disaster struck for the men's team pursuit squad - the defending champions - when they failed to qualify for the first round of the event. During the quartet's morning run, Charlie Tanfield came down alone in a crash on the final bend, meaning they did not clock a time.

Tanfield was immediately transferred to hospital, where he was found to have suffered a concussion. Despite falling hard on his shoulder, the 26-year-old's X-rays came back as normal.

Jody Cundy smiling in Great Britain track cycling kit

Nineteen-time world champion Jody Cundy bettered a four-year-old world record. 

(Image credit: Will Palmer/SWpix)

There was a new world record on Thursday afternoon for five-time Paralympic gold medallist Jody Cundy. The 44-year-old Brit beat his previous best flying 200m in the C4 Omnium by six hundredths of a second, stopping the clock at 10.427

Speaking afterwards, Cundy described the record as a “nice little surprise”. 

“I’ve been struggling to find a bit of speed lately. Also, we don’t get to do this event that often, and it was quite frustrating watching last year’s Omnium thinking, ‘Oh I quite fancy a 200m’,” he added. “World record, can’t complain.”

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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.