The Great Britain Cycling Team kicked off their UCI Track Nations Cup campaign with two silver team pursuit medals on day one in Glasgow, while Team Wales stormed to a historic first senior international bronze medal in the women’s team sprint.
Women’s team pursuit
In qualifying, Katie Archibald, Neah Evans, Dame Laura Kenny and Megan Barker qualified third fastest in a time of 4:17.371, setting up a first round contest against Italy. Despite falling narrowly behind as the race entered its final kilometre, the Great Britain team prevailed in the nervy final laps, finishing just over a tenth of a second quicker in 4:15.653.
That victory set up a repeat of the Tokyo Olympic final against Germany, who set an impressive time of 4:12.808 in their own first round contest. In the end the world and Olympic champions proved just too strong, with a time of 4:18.908 securing silver and a first medal of the event for Great Britain.
Speaking afterwards, Dame Laura Kenny said: “This is the first time racing since the Olympics, so it was always going to feel a lot harder. As a team, over each round, we kept going, we kept digging deep. It was always going to be a massive ask to beat the Germans but I think as a team, we performed really well.”
Representing Great Britain 2, Sophie Lewis, Ella Barnwell, Maddie Leech and Jess Roberts were ninth fastest in 4:27.691, narrowly missing out on a ride in the first round.
Men’s team pursuit
In the men’s event, Great Britain (Ethan Vernon, Ollie Wood, Rhys Britton and Charlie Tanfield) qualified fourth fastest in 3:54.684, setting up a formidable first round contest against reigning Olympic champions Italy.
The Italians replaced Filippo Ganna with Michele Scartezzini for the first round, and led for the first 3,000m of the race, before an incredible turnaround in the final kilometre saw Great Britain storm to victory in a time of 3:50.203, to set up a ride for gold in the evening session against France. However, the French quartet led throughout in the final to take the victory in 3:50.267, more than a second quicker than Great Britain.
Ollie Wood said: “It feels great, obviously we wanted first but we haven’t been together since the worlds last year, so to come together like that and take home a silver medal is pretty awesome.”
Ethan Vernon added: “We’ve come together pretty well – three of us rode together at the Olympics so we know we work well and we’ve added Rhys Britton and he’s fitted right in.”
Josh Charlton, Josh Giddings, Oscar Nilsson-Julien and Will Tidball recovered from a crash in training yesterday to qualify eighth fastest in 3:59.118, ensuring a first round ride in the evening to put them in contention for a bronze medal. While their first round was a second and a half quicker, the team finished with a commendable eighth place overall.
Women’s team sprint
The two Great Britain teams finished fourth and sixth fastest in team sprint qualifying, with Milly Tanner, Sophie Capewell and Blaine Ridge-Davis setting a time of 48.357, and Lauren Bell, Iona Moir and Lusia Steele stopping the clock in 48.593. National champions Team Wales (Lowri Thomas, Rhian Edmunds and Emma Finucane) were third fastest in 48.042.
Tanner, Capewell and Davis overcame Australia in the first round, and their time of 47.687 put them in a battle for bronze against Team Wales, who prevailed over the second Great Britain team of Bell, Moir and Steele in 47.630 in their own first round contest.
In a thrilling bronze medal final, it was Team Wales who emerged victorious. Great Britain led after two laps but a phenomenal finish from Lowri Thomas secured a historic first senior international medal for the Welsh riders, continuing a magnificent start to 2022 following their victory in this event in last month’s British National Track Championships in Newport.
Men’s team sprint
In the men’s event the Great Britain Cycling Team trio of Ali Fielding, Jack Carlin and Joe Truman qualified fourth fastest in 43.461, with Team Inspired (James Bunting, Hamis Turnbull and Hayden Norris) eighth in 44.282 – qualifying both teams for the first round.
The Great Britain Cycling Team faced stiff opposition in the Netherlands however, who brought Roy van den Berg into the team that had qualified fifth fastest. That extra firepower helped them to a narrow victory, three tenths of a second quicker than the home trio, while Team Inspired were also beaten in the first round, with fastest qualifiers Australia proving too strong.
The event continues tomorrow with medals up for grabs in the men’s individual pursuit, men’s kilo, women’s sprint, women’s elimination and men’s elimination. The second session, covering each of the five finals, will once again be broadcast live on the BBC iPlayer and Red Button. Read the full preview here.