Falls, physical contact, controversial decisions, some athletes misfiring and others firing on all cylinders characterized the matinee session on Day Four of the UCI Juniors World Championships at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow.
It all started with no less than 41 Men’s 200m Sprint qualifying heats. The best 24 riders would progress to the next round. New Zealand’s Quinn Karwowski was the first finisher under 11 seconds. His time of 10.577 seconds withstood the efforts of the next eleven starters, until France’s Thomas Copponi took to the boards and completed the distance in 10.664 seconds.
Copponi’s time stood for another seven heats, until three Adelaide-based sprinters representing Australia began their heats. In Heat 22, Patrick Constable set a new best time of 10.470 seconds. In Heat 24, Jai Angsuthasawit slotted in just behind the Frenchman, with a time of 10.669 seconds. Then, the third South Australian, Alexander Radzikiewitz, grabbed provisional second place with 10.650.
So, with 14 more heats to go, Australians occupied first, second and fourth places. In Heat 30, no less, the excellent Lithuanian, Svajunas Jonauskas, rode 10.612 to break the Australian stranglehold and move into second place. Two heats later, the recently crowned Keirin gold medallist, Sergei Gorlov (RUS), ousted Jonauskas with his time of 10.601.
Then, Kilo gold medallist Maximilian Dornbach moved into second place with a ride of 10.542 seconds. With seven riders to go, the top three place were as follows: 1. Constable (AUS) 10.470, 2. Dornbach (GER) 10.542. 3. Gorlov (RUS)10.601.
As the end of qualifying approached, Aleksey Lysenko (RUS) and Jeremy Presbury (NZl) set exactly the same time to the thousandth of a second in successive heats: their time of 10.674 put them joint tenth – comfortably inside the qualifying standard.
In the end, the 24 qualifiers were those who rode inside 10.969 seconds. You had to feel sorry for the sole sub-11 second finisher not to qualify, Poland’s Mateusz Rudyk.
The Women’s Omnium started with the Flying Lap. Germany’s Anna Knauer rode the first sub-15 second time, and her mark of 14.953 seconds would not be beaten. She took the early overall lead in the Omnium competition, with Soline Lamboley (FRA) second and Kinley Gibson (CAN) third.
The first round proper of the Men’s Sprint saw some compelling racing. The Belarus rider Veramchuk valiantly held off Germany’s formidable Dornbach, who overtook him in the final five metres. Then Jonauskas (LTU) and Borchjes (RSA) showed us the first track stand of the Championships, before the Lithuanian won the sprint front the front.
Malasyia’s Muhammad Sahrom rode valiantly against the Australian Alexander Radzikiewicz. Radzikiewicz beat him in the sprint, only to be relegated for deviating from his line in the final 200m. Then, a wonderful ride by Jaroslav Snasel (CZE) saw him make up a lot of ground to beat Benjamin Gil (FRA) in a photograph. It was great racing!
From 41 riders before qualifying, the sprinters were down to twelve.
The Men’s Omnium continued with the Individual Pursuit. Carlson (USA) set the early tie to beat of 3:30.326. Nicolas Pietrula (CZE) cut the best part of two seconds off the American’s time when he rode 3:28.610. Then, in Heat 8, Ollie Wood (GBR) and Regan Gough (NZl) both beat Pietrula’s mark and moved into first and second place respectively. Wood’s time of 3:27.759 was the new best mark.
Russia’s Dmitry Strakhov set faster split times for the first section of his ride, then slowed and had to settle for fourth place in the provisional standings. Marc Jurczyk (GER) did the same, moving Strakhov down to fifth place.
Then, Jack Edwards and Casper Pedersen, the overall Men’s Omnium leaders, took to the boards. Edwards set the fastest time at every split for the entire race, and finished no less than 3,258 quicker than Wood: 3:24.501. Pedersen’s time of 3:28.275 left him in third place, which gave Edwards the provisional lead overall by two points.
In the Men’s Sprint, photographs were required to confirm Patrick Constable’s win for Australia over Aleksey Lysenko (RUS), and Jan May’s win for Germany over Zac Williams (NZl). May, however, was subsequently relegated for entering the sprinter’s lane when his opponent was already there. More controversy followed in the Dornbach (GER)-Presbury (NZl) tie, which was halted after contact between the riders. Dornbach was given and official warning for being at ‘deliberate and flagrant fault’ – then Presbury outsprinted him convincingly. Jonauskas (LIT) out-thought Snasel (CZE) to win their head-to-head, and, in the other heats, Fedin (RUS) beat Sahrom (MAS), and Angsuthasawit (AUS) overcame Gorlov (RUS).
The second event in the Women’s Omnium was the Points race. After two sprints, Australia’s Macey Stewart led the classification with seven points, after taking third place in the first sprint and first place in the second one. But as the pace relented after that second acceleration, Italy’s Maria Vittoria Sperotto seized the moment and attacked. The peloton lost momentum and, with no one willing to force the pace, Sperotto took five circuits of the track to lap the field and rejoin it from the back. Soline Lamboley (FRA) won the penultimate sprint and moved into second place. Then, with seven laps remaining, Poland’s Lucja Pietrzak attacked. She quickly gained two-thirds of a lap, but an attack by Bailey Semian (USA) led to an acceleration by the peloton, and the Pole had to settle for first place in the final sprint, followed by Kay (GBR), Stewart (AUS) and Lamboley (FRA).
Sperotto (ITA) was the winner with 20 points. Stewart (AUS) and Lamboley (FRA) were second and third, in that order, both of them with 11 points, but the Australian being placed ahead of the French girl in the final sprint of the race. Knauer (GER) and Lamboley (FRA) now lead the overall standings with 5 points, while Stewart (AUS) is in provisional third place with 6 points.
Some muscular Men’s Sprint repechages closed the session. Lysenko (RUS) passed through to the semi-finals by holding off a lightning fast sprint by Snasel (CZE). If only the Czech rocket could time his sparkling final sprint a little better, he would be almost unbeatable. Instead, he is now out of the competition. Jan May (GER) then booked his place in the semi-finals by winning his repechage from the front.