photo credits @ UCI
Scottish icon Katie Archibald triumphed in the team pursuit nine years after her previous rainbow jersey in the specialty.
British gold in the women’s team pursuit came on the third day of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships. The track events in Glasgow’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome are part of the combined UCI Cycling World Championships taking place in Glasgow and across Scotland.
British athletes have been racking up medals on the track since the opening of the competition, but the stars of the women’s team pursuit may very well have provoked the most thunderous celebration as they capped off Saturday’s action with an absolute triumph. Not only did Team GB claim the women’s team pursuit crown, but they also did it with Scottish icon Katie Archibald, already UCI World Champion in the specialty in 2014, the last time the Brits won the team pursuit rainbow jersey.
Since then, Archibald had taken five silver medals in the team pursuit at the UCI Worlds, and at the Tokyo Olympic Games (after winning at the Rio 2016 Olympics).
New Zealand (Michaela Drummond, Ally Wollaston, Emily Shearman and Bryony Botha) tried to resist. They even crept ahead of the British team after 1 km. But Glasgow is Archibald’s home and there was no containing the Scottish star, with her teammates Elinor Barker, Josie Knight and Anna Morris (4:08.771 vs 4:13.313).
The battle for bronze was equally fierce, until France edged Italy with a very narrow margin (4:13.334 vs 4:13.059).
The Danish are regulars on team pursuit international podiums – UEC European Championships, UCI Worlds, and Olympics – thanks to a strong mix of power and collective skills. But they had only ever won two gold medals at the UCI World Championships (in 2009 and 2020) before they stormed to victory and top spot on the podium of Glasgow.
Already dominant in the qualification and round one, Niklas Larsen, Carl-Frederik Bevort, Lasse Leth and Rasmus Pedersen faced no less than the Italian Olympic Champions and owners of the world record. But the Danes, trailing in the first half of the race, eventually covered the 4 km in 3:45.161 to take gold ahead of the Squadra Azzurra (Filippo Ganna, Francesco Lamon, Jonathan Milan and Manlio Moro).
“I’m pretty exhausted but all the adrenaline is kicking in,” Niklas Larsen said. “We are UCI World Champions… I’m just very happy.”
In the final for bronze, the Australians never overcame their missed start and New Zealand (Aaron Gate, Campbell Stewart, Thomas Sexton and Nicholas Kergozou de la Boessiere) took their first medal in the team pursuit since 2020.
Following the Dutch success in the team sprint, fast men took on the qualification of the individual sprint: 1/16 finals and 1/8 finals. And an Oranje arrow impressed again. Harrie Lavreysen was the fastest in the qualification: 9.374 seconds to cover the 200m flying start at an average speed of 76.808 km/h. He qualified straight to the 1/8 finals, alongside Mateusz Rudyk (POL), UCI World Cycling Centre trainee Nicholas Paul (TTO) and Mohd Azizulhasni Awang (MAS). The first three also dominated their next heat, but Awang was relegated for entering his rival’s lane.
On Sunday, the quarter-finals will see Lavreysen battle with Australia’s Matthew Richardson in a thrilling rematch of last year’s final. Rudyk will face Kaiya Ota (JPN), Paul will battle with Joseph Truman (GBR) and the last heat will see Thomas Cornish (AUS) take on Jack Carlin (GBR).
Meanwhile, there were more fireworks in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in round one of the women’s keirin. Now a UCI World Champion in the 500m time trial after her triumph on Friday, Emma Hinze had to go through the repechages to qualify for the quarter-finals, where she joins her compatriot Lea Sophie Friedrich (reigning UCI World Champion), as well as Japan’s Mina Sato and the Netherlands’ Steffie van der Peet, who joined Friedrich last year on the podium and also had to go through the repechages on Saturday.
Three finals will be contested on Sunday: the women’s keirin, the men’s individual pursuit, and the women’s elimination. The men’s omnium UCI World Champion will also be crowned.
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