Matt Walls claimed his first ever elite world championship medal this evening in the Velodrom Berlin, taking the bronze medal in the omnium after a thrilling points race secured his spot on the podium.
Walls got his omnium campaign off to a strong start, gaining a lap in the scratch race with Frenchman Benjamin Thomas to finish in second place in the first race of the event. A seventh-place finish in the tempo race and an 11th place finish in the elimination resulted in Walls entering the points race in fifth place and very much in reach of a medal. Walls got stuck straight into the action, but it was around the 40 laps to go mark when he made his decisive move. Along with Australia’s Cameron Meyer, Walls went on the attack, scooping up the top points from the next two sprints, before eventually making the lap with twelve to go. This lap gain escalated Walls up to the silver medal position, but the Dutchman Jan van Schip put in a big chase in the closing stages to gain himself a lap which put him back ahead of Walls. France’s Benjamin Thomas took the victory in the omnium for the second time in his career so far.
Speaking of winning his first world championships medal, Walls said: “It’s unbelievable. It’s my second champs now, last year I came away with a sixth, and then earlier this week I got fourth (in the scratch race) and now I’ve got third. So I just keep improving, I keep learning from my mistakes and I keep coming back stronger.”
It was a tough night for Elinor Barker and Neah Evans in the women’s Madison. After a good start to the race, the duo were in the mix for medals, winning the second sprint and coming second in the third. However, with 19 laps to go, Evans got caught up in the American team’s change and crashed. After a medical assessment, she was straight back on her bike and into the race, where they finished in sixth place overall.
In the men’s sprint event, Jason Kenny and Jack Carlin posted 9.561 and 9.659 to qualify in seventh and 19th place respectively, which comfortably secured them a spot in the 1/16th finals. Carlin, carrying an ankle injury sustained in the keirin semi-finals on Thursday, was unable to progress beyond this point, while Kenny went out on the 1/8th finals.
Josie Knight shaved five seconds of her personal best time in the individual pursuit, stopping the clock at 3:27:865 to finish in 12th place in her debut appearance at elite world championship level.
The final day of competition takes place tomorrow at the Velodrom Berlin. Great Britain Cycling Team riders in action will be Katy Marchant in the keirin, Elinor Barker in the points race and Ethan Hayter and Ollie Wood in the Madison.