TWO GOLDS AND A SILVER FOR BRITISH TEAM ON FIRST DAY
Shanaze Reade became world champion in what was her second ever track race tonight as the British team exceeded expectation at the world track championships. Bradley Wiggins earlier took the men’s individual pursuit in dominant fashion, while in the team sprint the Brits were beaten by just two thousandths of a second by the French.
18 year-old Reade first rode on a track last November, but tonight partnered Victoria Pendleton to a gold in the women’s team sprint. The pair will go down in history as the first ever world champions of this event after beating the Dutch pair of Yvonne Hijgenaar and Willy Kanis by three hundredths of a second.
After first being lost for words Reade said; “I still feel like a novice because it’s only my second race, but a novice world champion? It’s not often you hear that. I was really excited when I first got here, I felt sick [and] I felt dizzy. I just wanted to get [the final] over and done with because I was so built up from the first race, and I was so nervous.”
When asked if she’d be giving up BMX, the junior BMX world champion said; “No way! No plans to give up the BMX, but maybe split it in half and focus on them both. I think it can be done, training wise they can work hand in hand.”
Britain’s first gold of the evening had landed in the lap of the more experienced Bradley Wiggins. Although the Cofidis rider prepared as seriously as ever for the final there was no chance of Germany’s Robert Bartko making up the five seconds that separated the pair in qualifying.
No one in the world can get close to Wiggins over 4km on the track, and he had caught the reigning champion in just under three minutes, “I’ve never been in that position,” Wiggins said of ‘the catch’. “I’ve always had to go to the line, but it’s a great feeling when you come bearing down on someone like that. I think he was already beaten going in to that final which is a big thing.”
“This is where my heart is really. I’ve bloody missed it, and I’m glad to be back.”
While the team sprint continues to be one of Britain’s most successful events, the trio of Craig MacLean, Ross Edgar and Chris Hoy had to settle for silver tonight after they were beaten by the French by the smallest of margins. It was so close the judges had to double check the result after both teams smashed the worlds best time that the British trio had set earlier in the day.
Competition for places has been fierce for the Brits, although it seems to inspire them to ever greater things, “final selection was made about two weeks ago after the world cup in Manchester,” MacLean said. “We tried out different permutations and it went to the committee.
“Its been really tough having had the world cup in Manchester and knowing that you’re judged every time you get on a bike. Mentally it’s quite draining. It’s not ideal, but there is no ideal when you’ve got seven guys going for three places. Unfortunately it’s the only way to do it.”
Jonathan Bellis finished a respectable eighth out of 16 in the men’s omnium. The Brit’s best result was third in the three kilometre pursuit but rode well throughout, against more experienced opposition. The five race event was won by Alois Kankovsky of the Czech Republic.