Great Britain’s women’s team pursuit quartet retained their title while Emily Nelson claimed her second medal in the space of two days at the UEC European Track Championships in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, today.
The British quartet of Laura Kenny, Katie Archibald, Neah Evans and Ellie Dickinson recorded an impressive time of 4:13.828 in the final, beating Germany by almost three seconds as they made an eye-catching start to the track season and kept hold of the continental jerseys which they claimed in Glasgow last summer.
Their team-mate Nelson, winner of the scratch race yesterday, once again produced a tactically astute performance in the elimination race, comfortably keeping herself out of trouble as the field was whittled down.
After seeing off Polish bronze medallist Nikol Plosaj, she found herself in a contest for gold with Dutch legend Kirsten Wild, and she pushed the home favourite all the way before Wild prevailed by a narrow margin as the two went head-to-head over the final lap.
Afterwards, Nelson said:
“The race was fast right from the gun – everyone was fighting for positions and riding into gaps that weren’t there, making it very technical, so you couldn’t switch off for a second.
“I’m super happy with my second medal of the championships – a bit gutted to have been so close to bringing home two jerseys but to lose to someone as decorated as Kirsten isn’t too bad!”
Meanwhile, the quartet of Ollie Wood, Charlie Tanfield, Ed Clancy and Ethan Hayter ensured that Great Britain picked up a medal of every colour on day 2, as they beat the Swiss quartet to win team pursuit bronze.
The Britons stopped the clock at 3:51.428 to comfortably defeat their opponents, while the final saw Denmark claim the gold medal to continue their stunning early-season form.
In the men’s scratch race, Matt Walls found himself in the mix for a medal for the second time in two days, following his fourth place in yesterday’s elimination race. Walls rode well for the entirety of the 60-lap race but, along with the rest of the field, was left behind by a devastating late attack by Spain’s Sebastian Mora Vedri.
Walls led the chase of Vedri in the final lap, but with the Spaniard well on his way to wrapping up the European title, the young British rider was overhauled in the final stages and finished in fifth. Christos Volikakis of Greece took silver and the Netherlands’ Wim Stroetinga bronze.
The individual sprint competitions also got under way today, with British representation ending at the quarter-final stage. Joe Truman was beaten 2-0 by reigning world champion Harrie Lavreysen, while Jack Carlin – at the velodrome in which he won world championship silver last year – lost out by the same margin to Poland’s Mateusz Rudyk.
Katy Marchant was also defeated in her quarter-final, losing to Russia’s Anastasiia Voinova, while earlier in the competition, youngster Sophie Capewell advanced to the 1/8 finals, where she was beaten by the defending champion Daria Shmeleva, also of Russia.
Today’s medals add to Nelson’s scratch race gold and the silver claimed by team sprint trio Ryan Owens, Jack Carlin and Jason Kenny on the opening day of competition. Tomorrow will see the sprint competitions continue, while Kenny and Wood take to the track in the respective omniums and Archibald is Britain’s representative in the women’s individual pursuit.