The ladies sprint semifinals were the first event on the programme. However, after Vogel and Zhong had started, their race was suddenly halted – due to a leak in an air conditioning unit which was pouring water onto the track. After many minutes of deliberating, a person was assigned to stand with a mop at trackside to sweep up the drips when the riders were at the other side of the track. A primitive, but effective, fix.
The first of the semifinals pitted the reigning world champion, Kristina Vogel of Germany, against Tianshi Zhong of China. Whilst Vogel may have the credentials to win, Zhong’s performances over the past year show she is a force to be reckoned with and, with Vogel not quite on top form, she could cause an upset. Zhong took the first race, immediately putting Vogel on the back foot. However, she timed her sprints to perfection in her closing two races to seal her place in the final.
In the second heat, Elis Ligtlee of the Netherlands only needed two races to dispatch Stephanie Morton of Australia. Ligtlee showed maturity beyond her 20 years to power down the finish straight, with her second victory even more convincing than her first. The shape of the Paris track means steeper bends and a longer finishing straight meaning some adjustment in riders’ normal strategy.
Semifinals – Winners of each heat who progress to finals
1 Kristina Vogel (Germany) – through in three races
2 Elis Ligtlee (Netherlands) – through in two races
In the first of the gold medal finals between Vogel and Ligtlee, Vogel took the win by the narrowest of margins – just one-thousandth of a second – in a race which was initially awarded to Ligtlee. The young sprinter was unable to better her performance in the second, which Vogel took comfortably to take the gold. Anyone who believes multiple world titles mean less and less as they accumulate would do well to view Vogel’s reaction to winning – the German was ecstatic with her result. However, for such a young rider, there will undoubtedly be gold medals in Ligtlee’s future.
Zhong took the bronze medal after triumphing against Morton in two fairly straightforward heats.
GOLD Kristina VOGEL (Germany)
SILVER Elis LIGTLEE (Netherlands)
BRONZE Tianshi ZHONG (China)
4 Stephanie MORTON (Australia)
5 Shuang GONG (China)
6 Anastasia VOYNOVA (Russia)
7 Simona KRUPECKAITE (Lithuania)
8 Jessica VARNISH (Great Britain)
Women’s Scratch Race
24 riders started the women’s scratch race, and the riders assumed a relatively slow pace from the start without any riders willing to take the race on. Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz from Spain was the first to make a determined attack from the front and initially, it appeared that her move may just be successful. However, an injection of pace by the peloton – eventually – meant her efforts were fruitless. Guiterrez ultimately did not finish the race, and it is not clear if this was through exhaustion or whether she was involved in a crash which resulted in Cuban, Yumari Gonzalez Valdivieso, being stretchered off the track.
With six laps remaining, it was clear that there would be no laps taken in the race and the race would be decided by a sprint. Great Britain’s Elinor Barker attempted to break away from the front, although timed her attack two laps early and was swallowed up by a now more determined bunch.
The powerful Dutch sprinter, Kristen Wild, positioned herself at the front of the group with three laps to go which turned out to be the deciding move. Wild managed to hold off a dangerous attempt at an inside overtake by Pascale Jeuland of France to cross the line first ahead of Australia’s Amy Cure whose silver medal now provides her with a complete set after gold in the team pursuit and bronze in the individual pursuit. The bronze was initially awarded to Jeuland, but she was soon relegated after replays showed just how dangerous her move in the last lap was and awarded to the Australian, Allison Beveridge, instead. The crowd were vocal in their displeasure, which also translated into booing Beveridge on the podium. An unnecessary gesture.
Women’s Scratch Race Results
GOLD Kirsten WILD (Netherlands)
SILVER Amy CURE (Australia)
BRONZE Allison BEVERIDGE (Canada)
4 Lizbeth Yaraly SALAZAR VAZQUEZ (Mexico)
5 Alzbeta PAVLENDOVA (Slovakia)
6 Annalisa CUCINOTTA (Italy)
7 Kelly DRUYTS (Belgium)
8 Kimberly GEIST (United States)
9 Jannie Milena SALCEDO ZAMBRANO (Colombia)
10 Gudrun STOCK (Germany)
11 Tetyana KLIMCHENKO (Ukraine)
12 Rushlee BUCHANAN (New Zealand)
13 Evgeniya ROMANYUTA (Russia)
14 Qianyu YANG (Hong Kong)
15 Jarmila MACHACOVA (Czech Republic)
16 Katarzyna PAWLOWSKA (Poland)
17 Elinor BARKER (Great Britain)
18 Sara FERRARA (Finland)
19 Caroline RYAN (Ireland)
20 Maroesjka MATTHEE (South Africa)
21 Marina SHMAYANKOVA (Belarus)
22 Pascale JEULAND (France) REL
184 Yumari GONZALEZ VALDIVIESO (Cuba) DNF
202 Sheyla GUTIERREZ RUIZ (Spain) DNF
Women’s Omniun III – Elimination Race
Women’s Omnium III – Elimination Race Results
Men’s Omnium – Final Points
Men’s Individual Pursuit Finals
The first of the individual pursuit finals was for bronze with Alexander Serov of Russia facing Julien Morice of France. The Frenchman opened a lead of nearly 1.5 seconds at halfway, and it was at this point that Serov started to come back. However, buoyed by the home crowd, Morice was able to hold onto his lead, and ended up crossing the line in 4:21.419 – 0.4 seconds clear of Serov (4:21.801).
The gold medal final was to be a battle between last year’s silver medallist, Switzerland’s Stefan Keung, and the world record holder in the event, Jack Bobridge of Australia. Bobridge had famously failed in his attempt at the world hour record which was largely blamed on him putting in some blistering early laps. Ironically, this was a feature which hinted at a potentially very fast attempt at the 4km distance.
Bobridge went out very hard, clocking 1:05.921 in his first kilometre – some 3.5 seconds ahead of Keung, and on the cusp of world record pace. With a three second lead still standing at 2km, a Bobridge victory seemed likely. However, it was at this point he began to tire, and by 3km his lead had reduced to 1.5 seconds. 14 second kilometres turned into high 16s in the final kilometre, and a far more measured Kueng stole the gold medal in the last 125m with a last lap half a second quicker.
Bobridge strategy of going out hard clearly had once again not paid off, although the rider appeared to have no regrets telling media “I won’t come out here and stuff around and try and ride and match someone. I went out full throttle and it didn’t pay off, but I’ve done it a lot of times before and it has paid off. I’m a racer and I guess I always will be.”
Keung, meanwhile, was ecstatic with the gold and was praised for keeping to his own schedule and not being swayed by Bobridge’s fast start.