Fernando Gaviria confirms his talent as Elis Ligtlee and Stefan Kueng show themselves as future stars of track cycling. Photos by Andy Jones.
Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria, the man who beat Mark Cavendish twice at the Tour de San Luis, rode a stunning points race to win the men’s omnium. He jumped straight up after a crash in the first ten minutes of the race, quickly gained a lap to take the lead, and never looked like losing it.
The turn of speed that saw the 20-year-old put bike lengths in to Cavendish in Argentina last month was in evident in Paris at the track world championships as he picked up points throughout the 160 lap race.
The points race made for an exciting end to the omnium, pitting riders against each other, unlike the kilo, and opening it up to those further down the omnium classification who had nothing to lose. This was the first world championships where the omnium has followed this format since the regulations changed last summer, and it looks to have worked. It’s easier for spectators to follow and the winner is the rider who gets to do the lap of honour with their arms in the air.
Australia’s Glen O’Shea took the silver medal with Team Sky’s Elia Viviani (Italy) finishing in the bronze medal position. Britain’s Jon Dibben was 12th with Martyn Irvine in 17th.
Australian Jack Bobridge miss-timed his effort again, but this time it was over 16 laps rather than 208. The indivdual pursuit world record holder flew out of the blocks and put in two 14.8 second laps. Had he held that pace he would have ridden a 4:01 minute pursuit. Just before halfway he was almost four seconds up on Sefan Kueng of Switzerland. But at the two kilometre mark the gap started to come back down.
Slowly but surely Kueng pegged back Bobridge until the Australian’s advantage was 0.009 seconds with 125m to go. At that point it was too late for Bobridge to swing it back in his favour and the gold medal was gone.
This is the first time the title has left Australia since 2010 when Taylor Phinney won. You have to go back to Robert Barkto in Bordeaux 2006 to find the last non English speaker to win the event.
Elinor Barker put in a big effort at the end of the women’s scratch race, attacking with six laps to go. She got a gap on the bunch but couldn’t hold them off, getting swept up as the sprint got going just before the bell.
“I rode like a bit of an idiot to be honest, I’m not very proud of that ride.” she admitted afterwards. “The plan was to try and do as little work as possible basically and to try and wait for other peope to chase it. “When one of the riders nearly got a lap early on, all the big riders were chasing until about ten laps to go it was working in my favour.”
“I wanted to just follow Wild and try and come round her in the last lap. Everyone wanted her wheel, it was a mass of riders behind her. I came from the back and panicked and thought, ‘I’ve got this lead, I might as well try and use it’, and tried to get away, it was a bit stupid really.”
“I’m in the form of my life, i’m really happy with it. I’m not so happy with how the week’s gone unfortuantley, but that’s elite level sports.”
Kristina Vogel successfully defended her sprint title against the rising Dutch talent Elis Ligtlee. Vogel who wasn’t even on the podium in the team sprint only just beat the 20-year-old whose rapid improvement in the last two years marks her out as a genuine medal proposition in Rio next year. Vogel still looks sharp, although not as sharp as she did last year, while the Chinese sprinters are still looking good. Tianshi Zhong took the bronze medal.
One slight embarrasment for the organisers was when competition had to be stopped and the track closed because of a leak in the roof above the home straight. Officials were stood on the track with a cloth to mop up the water for around ten minutes before riders were allowed back on.
1. Kristina Vogel (Ger) bt
2. Elisa Ligtlee (Ned)
3. Tianshi Zhong (Chn) bt
4. Stephanie Morton (Aus)
8. Jess Varnish (GBr)
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) 205pts
2. Glenn O’Shea (Aus) 190pts
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) 181pts
4. Jasper de Buyst (Bel) 178pts
5. Aaron Gate (NZl) 173pts
12. Jon Dibben (GBr) 123pts
Men’s individual pursuit
1. Stefan Kueng (Sui) 4:18.915 bt
2. Jack Bobridge (Aus) 4:19.184
3. Julien Morice (Fra) 4:21.419 bt
4. Alexander Serov (Rus) 4:21.801
5. Andy Tennant (GBr)