With Great Britain and Australia contesting the swansong for the 3km Women’s Team Pursuit, New Zealand and Germany storming round for three laps in the Men’s Team Pursuit, Australia’s Michael Hepburn and Ireland’s Martyn Irvine contesting the Men’s Individual Pursuit Final, this afternoon’s qualifying sessions had already guaranteed and exciting session on the evening of the second day of competition.
The Women’s 500m Time Trial and an enthralling Men’s Scratch race only added to the drama.
Women’s 500m Time Trial
With no home favourite for the crowd to cheer on, it was left to Great Britain’s Rebecca James to ensure that the 500m Time Trial had an electric atmosphere. First off, she was the first of nine riders to dip under 35 seconds, clocking 34.133. Eight more riders came and went and James was still top of the pile. Lisandra Guerra of Cuba came closest with a 34.220 but it was Wai Sze Lee of Hong Kong who finally deposed the British rider – stopping the clock in 33.973 seconds.
Kaarle McCulloch was the penultimate rider and she, too, went under 35 seconds but her time of 34.362 was only good enough for fifth at that point. Miriam Welte of Germany – Gold medalist yesterday in the Team Sprint – was last to go and, like Lee, she managed to dip under 34 seconds – but she couldn’t quite match the Hong Kong rider and had to settle for the Silver with a time of 33.996.
GOLD Wai Sze LEE HKG 33.973
SILVER Miriam WELTE GER 33.996
BRONZE Rebecca Angharad JAMES GBR 34.133
Men’s Individual Pursuit
Switzerland’s Stefan Kueng built on his qualifying advantage over Alexander Morgan of Australia to open up a 4 second gap to clinch the Bronze medal. Morgan’s compatriot Michael Hepburn – reigning World Champion – had eight seconds in hand over his rival Martyn Irvine of Ireland and that proved to be decisive as the Australian closed in on Irvine in the closing stages to take Gold in 4:16.733 to Irvine’s 4:24.528. The man from Newtonards, though, wasn’t finished yet.
GOLD Michael HEPBURN AUS 4:16.733
SILVER Martyn IRVINE IRL 4:24.528
BRONZE Stefan KUENG SUI 4:22.841
4 Alexander MORGAN AUS 4:26.800
The Canadian trio of Laura Brown, Jasmin Glaesser and Gillian Carleton went in to the Bronze medal ride against Poland with Edyta Jasinska, Malgorzata Wojtyra and Katazyna Pawlowska with a slight advantage over their rivals in terms of their qualifying performance. The lure of a medal, though, was strong and they reeled their opponents in over the 3km – just failing to make the catch on the last lap but finishing almost nine seconds up on their opponents.
The Final was rather closer than qualifying suggested it might be with the Australians drafting in Amy Cure to replace Ashlee Ankudinoff and she, Melissa Hoskins and Annette Edmondson pulled back a slight deficit in the opening lap to pull ahead of Elinor Barker, Laura Trott and Dani King. The Great Britain approach to the pursuit seems to be different to the Australians, with the Aussies going out hard and fading in the second half of the race while the Brits tend to ride a steadier pace, with a slight negative split – speeding up in the second half of the 3km.
In truth, though, while the Australians led for the first third of the race, they were never in command. The gap went out to just over a third of a second before Great Britain started to come back. By lap six they were clear and the Australians never looked like getting back on terms.
At the finish there was nearly two seconds between them – Great Britain taking the Gold with a 3:18.140, the Australians clocking 3:19.913. So the World Record of 3:14.051 set by Trott, King and Jo Rowsell at the Olympics in London looks set – bar a future change in the rules, to stand forever.
GOLD Great Britain (Elinor BARKER, Dani KING, Laura TROTT) 3:18.140
SILVER Australia (Melissa HOSKINS, Amy CURE, Annette EDMONDSON) 3:19.913
BRONZE Canada (Laura BROWN, Jasmin GLAESSER, Gillian CARLETON) 3:20.704
4 Poland (Edyta JASINSKA, Malgorzata WOJTYRA, Katarzyna PAWLOWSKA) 3:29.024
Men’s Scratch Race
The Men’s Scratch race looked as though it was all over in the first four leaps when Artyom Zakharov of Kazakhstan who had gone from the gun had the back of the field in sight. They made him work for it, raising the pace and leaving him dangling off the back and, after 20 laps he had dropped off the back of the bunch and out of the race. The pace was brutal and the field soon split into two with pre-race favourites like Tristan Marguet of Switzerland and Juan Esteban Arango of Colombia stranded in the second group. Inevitably, riders were being shelled out of the back lap after lap – only ten would finish – but the decisive move came with six to go when Irvine attacked.
Having just finished an Individual Pursuit – and taking a Silver medal – it looked as though he might have gone too early. He said after the race that he expected other riders to come with him, but nobody could match his pace. Andreas Mueller of Austria gave chase in the last three laps and looked as though he might overhaul the Irishman in the closing stages, but Irvine held on to take a historic victory – and cap an incredible day.
SILVER Andreas MUELLER AUT
BRONZE Luke DAVISON AUS
Men’s Team Sprint
With the French having taken the Bronze medal ride against Australia, it was all down to three flat out laps between Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster of New Zealand and Stefan Boetticher, Max Levy and Rene Enders of Germany. And, for the first two laps, it was all about the Kiwis who had outqualified their rivals and looked fully justified favourites. In the end, though, the Germans had a little bit to much for them – clawing back almost two tenths of a second on the final lap to clock 43.495 to New Zealand’s 43.544.
GOLD Germany (Maximilian LEVY, Stefan BOTTICHER, Rene ENDERS) 43.495
SILVER New Zealand (Edward DAWKINS, Sam WEBSTER, Ethan MITCHELL) 43.544
BRONZE France (Michael D’ALMEIDA, Francois PERVIS, Julien PALMA) 43.798
4 Australia (Matthew GLAETZER, Mitchell BULLEN, Scott SUNDERLAND) 44.005