Day 1 Session 2
Before capacity crowds, the first gold medal of the Championships fell to Colombia. Then Australia bagged the next three gold medals, in a wonderful evening of racing at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
A full and fascinating session started with qualifying heats in the Women’s and Men’s Team Sprint. In the first of the Women’s heats, Pan-American champions Mexico set the early fast time of 37.070 seconds. In Heat Two, Korea rode convincingly faster, achieving 35.810 seconds. Their time withstood a fine ride by the Belgian pair, who seemed to have replaced Mexico in second place with their time of 35.950 seconds, until the judges relegated them for an incorrect relay. Heat Four began with a false start by USA. It did not stop their adversaries, Australia, from taking the lead with 35.560. Then, in Heat Five, Russia earned their place in the final, thanks to another excellent time of 35.800 seconds.
At the end of qualifying, the Women’s Team Sprint finals, scheduled for later in the evening, looked like this: Korea versus Germany in the bronze medal play off, and Australia against Russia for the gold medal.
The action continued with the Men's Team Sprint. Due to an odd number of entrants, India rode the first heat alone. As he started, Dilawar Dilawar's foot came out of the pedal, leading to a re-start. In Heat Two, the same thing happened to Thomas Copponi of the French trio. They and Poland required a second start, yet both posted good times (46.700 for France, 46.940 for Poland).
In the next Heat, both Germany and Malaysia false-started. Germany, who rode 45.473 seconds in the European championships three weeks ago, rode a scintillating heat and set the new best time of 45.980 seconds. Malaysia appeared to have taken over fourth place until they too were relegated for an incorrect relay.
Heat Five saw Japan take on Belarus, who finished fifth in the recent European Championships. Belarus started with incredible speed, setting the fastest splits for laps one and two of any team so far. But they faded to 3rd place overall (46.760), and were, in any case, subsequently relegated for yet another incorrect relay.
Australia faced Pan-American silver medallists Mexico in Heat Six. The Australian trio, made up of three South Australians who have been riding together for three years, were irresistible, and their time of 45.800 seconds was the new fastest time.
That left one more heat, with Russia riding opposite New Zealand. The Russians set the second best time overall (45.978 seconds) to book their place in the final with Australia. The Kiwis set the fourth best time (46.419 seconds) and earned the right to take on Germany for the bronze medal later in the evening. Fantastic stuff!
Then came the Women’s Scratch race, which would yield the first World Champion of the week. It was a brilliant race which rewarded risk-taking and enterprise. Three laps into the thirty-lap race, Jessica Parra of Colombia and Soline Lamboley of France darted away from the peloton and led briefly before the group brought them back. Four laps later, with 22 of the 30 circuits of the track completed, Jesse Vandenbulcke of Belgium went clear. She led the peloton for no less than nine laps, extending her lead to half a lap. As the peloton rested on the wheel of Australia’s Josie Talbot, Colombia’s Parra launched her second attack of the race. She quickly opened a significant gap, caught the Belgian within a lap, and carried on alone.
Talbot led the chase, but found no helpers. Impatient, Vandenbulcke attacked again with ten laps to go, but made few in-roads into Parra’s lead. Six laps from the end, Soline Lamboley attacked again, but she was quickly reeled in. Parra, meanwhile, persevered with brilliant tenacity and, with two laps to go, lapped the field. The race was decided.
In the peloton, Kinley Gibson of Canada won the sprint, with the Mexican, Lizbeth Salazar, behind her: but they were fighting for the minor positions. Jessica Parra, fifth in the same event in last year’s Juniors World Track Championships, had taken the first gold medal of the Championships.
In the Men’s Team Pursuit bronze medal play off, Russia had too much speed for Great Britain. Russia started very quickly, riding the first kilometre inside a minute and leading at every split. In the final laps, the British quartet began to unravel. The Russian four finally overtook Great Britain in the final lap. Neat, precise and effective.
The final saw a brilliant ride by Australia, who led New Zealand by a second after one lap, and built on that lead to win by 6 seconds in the day’s best time of 4:06.159. The Australian quartet was aggressive, fluent, and quite unbeatable.
The evening ended with the Team Sprint finals. In the Women's version, Korea beat Germany for bronze, and then Australia beat Russia to take their second gold medal of the Championships. Just 0.2 seconds separated Korea and Germany, and just 0.3 seconds divided Australia from Russia. It was wonderfully close, competitive racing.
In the Men's Team Sprint finals: Germany (45.581 seconds) convincing vs New Zealand (46.363 seconds) to take bronze. A hair's breadth divides Australia (45.639 seconds), gold, from Russia (45.714 seconds), silver.
All this, and the tickets for the session were sold out too: a perfect start to Glasgow’s Championships!