The 2017 UEC European Track Cycling Championships officially open at the Velodrom in Berlin tomorrow, but the action began today with qualifying for the Team Pursuit and the first practice session for the Stayers championships.Men
Alexandru Niculae Ciocan, Daniel Crista, Marius-Cristian Petrache and Valentin Plesea of Romania were the first on the track and clocked 4:33.879 – a time immediately eclipsed by Volodymyr Dzhus, Roman Gladysh. Maksym Vasyliev and Illya Klepikov of Ukraine who topped the leaderboard with a 4:08.056.
Felix Gross, Theo Reinhardt, Kersten Thiele and Domenic Weinstein of Germany smashed that, becoming the first of four times with break the four minute barrier with a 3:59.730. Spain couldn’t match the time of Ukraine, but Denmark could – Julius Johansen, Niklas Larsen, Casper Pedersen and Casper Von Folsach slipping into second with a 4:00.571.
Belarus and Switzerland, Poland and Belgium all failed to challenge the front runners and it was Russia who were next to shake things up – Alexander Evtushenko, Sergei Shilov, Dmitrii Sokolov and Mamyr Stash) going fastest with a 3:59.434.
Liam Bertazzo, Filippo Ganna, Francesco Lamon and Michele Scartezzini clocked 3:58.720 for Italy to take the lead with just two teams to go – and the first of those – France – went faster still. Thomas Denis, Corentin Ermenault, Florian Maitre and Benjamin Thomas took over at the top of the standings with a 3:58.060.
That just left Great Britain and with two laps to go, Kian Emadi, Steven Burke, Mark Stewart and Andy Tennant held a slender advantage. At the bell, they were a third of a second behind France, but – barring a disaster – good for a qualification place.
Tennant dropped off the back and at the final change Stewart had to go over him to fill the gap behind Burke. The move seemed to unsettle Tennant and he clipped the timing bags on the exit from Turn 2 and struggled to regain control of the bike along the back straight. Attempting to switch from the skis to the start bars on the entry to turn 3, the bike suddenly turned upwards and, as he entered turn 4, Tennant finally lost the fight and crashed down the track. With only two riders finishing, Great Britain were out.
France qualified fastest, ahead of Italy and Russia with Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Poland and a grateful Belgium joining them in the first round.
1 FRANCE (DENIS Thomas, ERMENAULT Corentin, MAITRE Florian, THOMAS Benjamin) 3:58.060
2 ITALY (BERTAZZO Liam, GANNA Filippo, LAMON Francesco, SCARTEZZINI Michele) 3:58.720
3 RUSSIA (EVTUSHENKO Alexander, SHILOV Sergei, SOKOLOV Dmitrii, STASH Mamyr) 3:59.434
4 GERMANY (GROSS Felix, REINHARDT Theo, THIELE Kersten, WEINSTEIN Domenic) 3:59.730
5 DENMARK (JOHANSEN Julius, LARSEN Niklas, PEDERSEN Casper, VON FOLSACH Casper) 4:00.571
6 SWITZERLAND (IMHOF Claudio, PASCHE Frank, PERIZZOLO Loic, THIERY Cyrille) 4:01.325
7 POLAND (BANASZEK Alan, KRAWCZYK Szymon, SAJNOK Szymon, STANISZEWSKI Daniel) 4:01.709
8 BELGIUM (DE KETELE Kenny, DE VYLDER Lindsay, THIJSSEN Gerben, WEEMAES Sasha) 4:02.954
With only eight starters, the question wasn’t who would qualify, but how they would be seeded. Katsiaryna Piatrouskaya, Polina Pivovarova, Tatsiana Sharakova and Hanna Tserah opened the session for Belarus with a 4:37.789, which fell immediately to a 4:25.355 from Germany. The time of Charlotte Becker, Lisa Brennauer, Lisa Klein and Gudrun Stock would stand as the benchmark until the antepenultimate round but it was France who came closest – Laurie Berthon, Marion Borras, Elise Delzenne and Coralie Demay going second with a 4:27.473.
Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Eleanor Dickinson and Emily Kay clocked 4:21.219 for Great Britain to go over four seconds clear before Justyna Kaczkowska, Katarzyna Pawlowska, Daria Pikulik and Nikol Plosaj went third for Poland with a 4:26.462.
That left just Elisa Balsamo, Tatiana Guderzo, Letizia Paternoster and Silvia Valsecchi of Italy – who shaved half a second off the GB time to close out the session with a 4:20.636.
1 ITALY (BALSAMO Elisa, GUDERZO Tatiana, PATERNOSTER Letizia, VALSECCHI Silvia) 4:20.636
2 GREAT BRITAIN (ARCHIBALD Katie, BARKER Elinor, DICKINSON Eleanor, KAY Emily) 4:21.219
3 GERMANY (BECKER Charlotte, BRENNAUER Lisa, KLEIN Lisa, STOCK Gudrun) 4:25.355
4 POLAND (KACZKOWSKA Justyna, PAWLOWSKA Katarzyna, PIKULIK Daria, PLOSAJ Nikol) 4:26.462
5 FRANCE (BERTHON Laurie, BORRAS Marion, DELZENNE Elise, DEMAY Coralie) 4:27.473
6 RUSSIA (BADYKOVA Gulnaz, CHEKINA Aleksandra, GONCHAROVA Alexandra, IAKOVENKO Anastasiia) 4:34.561
7 BELGIUM (CROKET Gilke, DOM Annelies, KOPECKY Lotte, VANDENBROUCKE Saartje) 4:36.183
8 BELARUS (PIATROUSKAYA Katsiaryna, PIVOVAROVA Polina, SHARAKOVA Tatsiana, TSERAH Hanna) 4:37.789