Emily Nelson produced a sensational scratch race performance to win the first gold medal of the UEC European Track Championships yesterday, while Great Britain’s men’s team sprint trio won silver and the women’s team pursuit squad put themselves in contention for gold.
On day 1 of the championships in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, Nelson rode a mature, controlled and perfectly-executed scratch race to claim gold ahead of a stellar field.
Germany’s Charlotte Becker was active on the front, and a late attack from her dragged along Norway’s Anita Stenberg, who led going into the closing stages. Nelson did all the work in reeling her in, but still had the strength to hold off the rest of the field after she passed Stenberg as the bell sounded.
She kept Ireland’s Shannon McCurley (silver) and Portugal’s Maria Martins (bronze) at bay to take her first European title.
“I started my sprint a couple of laps earlier than I usually would, but I knew I wanted to lead out rather than try to get around other riders. I’m really happy with the jersey, especially with it being my first elite European title.”
The men’s team pursuit squad of Ryan Owens, Jack Carlin and Jason Kenny were kept off the top spot of the podium by the dominant Dutch trio of Jeffrey Hoogland, Harrie Lavreysen and Roy van den Burg.
The British team recorded solid times of 42.938 and 42.661 in qualifying and the first round to book their place in the gold medal final, but were beaten by the world champions, who stopped the clock at 42.151 in claiming victory.
Meanwhile, defending champion Matt Walls was edged out of the medals in the men’s elimination race, agonisingly losing out in a sprint to Frenchman Bryan Coquard as the race reached its closing stages. Walls ended in fourth, Poland’s Filip Prokopyszyn in third and Coquard in second, as Elia Viviani struck gold.
Both team pursuit competitions also got under way on the opening day, and Great Britain’s women looked dominant as they serenely booked their place in tomorrow’s gold medal final. The quartet of Katie Archibald, Neah Evans, Ellie Dickinson and Laura Kenny recorded a time of 4:15.939 in qualifying, before backing that up with a 4:17.352 after replacing Kenny with Barker for their first-round ride.
The men will ride off for bronze – Ed Clancy, Ollie Wood, Charlie Tanfield and Ethan Hayter were defeated in the first round by Italy after clocking the second fastest time in qualifying. They will now face Germany for bronze tomorrow, while the Italians take on Denmark – who recorded a blistering time of 3:48.762 – for gold.
As well as the team pursuit medal rides, tomorrow will see Evans go in the women’s elimination race, Walls back in action in the men’s scratch, and both individual sprint competitions start, with Katy Marchant, Sophie Capewell, Carlin and Joe Truman representing Great Britain.