"Queen of the Track" for GB's cycling
team, Laura Trott, was a double gold winner in the second leg of the UCI Track
World Cup in London at the Lee Valley Park velodrome at the weekend. It capped
a solid team performance as GB won four golds overall (the others were in the
men's team pursuit and madison events) and a bronze in the women's points race
for Elinor Barker. That represented an improvement on their return in the first
round of the World Cup last month in Guadalajara, when they came home with two
golds and two silvers.
The double London 2012 Olympic winner was the home team's class act once again, with Trott winning both the women's omnium and team pursuit events. Her joy in the pursuit was shared with her fellow team members of Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Ciara Horne, who had replaced Joanna Rowsell for the final.
Technical Director, Australian Shane Sutton, acclaimed the key role she performs within the overall squad as someone to inspire the whole team through her achievements. Allied to a bubbly demeanour there is a steely determination and a wise head beyond her years, as evidenced by the manner in which she calmly controlled the final event of the omnium the 100- lap points race (in a slightly adjusted format to recent years), by "marking" the moves made by her closest competitor Jolien D'Hoore of Belgium and keeping herself just out of reach of the would be "chasers". By taking the maximum 5 points for the penultimate sprint, she all but ensured victory (barring someone gaining an unlikely lap on the field or Trott falling) with ten laps remaining and wisely settled back into the pack as the final sprint was fought out. A comparison of the stature of the silver and bronze athletes on the podium illustrated a distinct difference in size, but what she lacks in bulk she more than makes up for in sheer talent and the omnium is clearly an event that suits her abilities. She had always looked to be in a strong position in the multi-discipline event, winning the Scratch and the Pursuit, and staying in the top three in the Elimination race and 500 metres.
GB’s men’s team pursuit quartet took advantage when the favourites Australia suffered a puncture in the first round that put paid to their chances. GB went on to beat New Zealand in the final, as Steven Burke, Mark Christian, Owain Doull and Andrew Tennant’s time for the 4km distance was slower than the Aussies had recorded in qualifying. That mattered not to the Brits, but is clearly an indication that they still have some way to go to consistently challenge them when fate does not intervene. #CelebritiesThe men’s pairing of Mark Christian and Owain Doull took the other gold for GB in the Madison event.
Trott’s partner and fellow Olympic gold medallist, Jason Kenny was less successful in the meeting as due to illness earlier in the week he made the decision to rest leading up to the event to ensure his attendance in the meeting. The lack of work clearly had its effect as he failed to make an impression on the medal positions in his events, with the men’s team sprint seeing GB manage a disappointing seventh place.
Looking forward to the next two years and Rio in 2016, it looks promising for GB's athletes in the Track cycling events, with many stars still to (hopefully) slot back into the team. Besides the expectation that Kenny will come back to his top form, Sir Bradley Wiggins is expected to fit back into the team pursuit team at some point to challenge the ominous Australians and Becky James would strengthen the women's sprint team's chances significantly.
The final round of the World Cup sees the teams travel to Colombia in January of next year to complete the three race series.