February 21, 2015 (St Quentin-en-Yvelines, France) – Four world titles were awarded on Saturday at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in St-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France. Germany joins host France with the most gold medals, at three each, while Australia leads in the total medal count with nine medals, two of them gold.
The Netherlands took the first world title of the evening in the women’s Scratch Race, their first gold medal of these championships. Kirsten Wild (Netherlands) won the rainbow jersey, outsprinting Amy Cure (Australia) and Allison Beveridge (Canada).
Beveridge suffered a mid-race crash and went down pretty hard but got back into the race. Luckily she crashed at a point in the race that you are able to miss five laps for either a crash or mechanical without any penalty. Beveridge recovered and rode strong to finish 4th but when French rider, Pascale Jeuland, was relegated for forcing a competitor off the track, Beveridge landed on the podium for the bronze.
“Exciting way to finish off Worlds here in Paris with the scratch race… Crash, relegation and another bronze! Time for some macaroons,” tweeted Beveridge.
Her teammate Kirsti Lay tweeted, “We don’t call her red hot for nothing! Our girl @Alli_Bev keeping things spicy & taking scratch bronze after crash.”
“I am very happy,” said Wild. “It was nice that my family was here and I can celebrate with them. I have never had such a title, including on the road, so yah, it is amazing. Until 10 laps to go the race was easy, but the last 10 laps was a hard race. This is first medal to the Netherlands, but not the last, I think!”
Canadians Joseph Veloce and Hugo Barrette competed in the Men’s Sprint with Veloce, the reigning Canadian sprint champ, qualifying 24th to make the 1/16 finals. Barrette in 26th did not advance as only the top 24 riders continue. Veloce was defeated by Stefan Boetticher (Germany) and was eliminated.
Colombia were the next to stand on the top step of the podium, with Fernando Gaviria dominating the men’s Omnium. Gaviria entered the second day of competition in first place and never relinquished his lead, finishing with a total of 205 points. He sealed his victory with a strong performance in the Points Race, despite a crash. Glenn O’Shea (Australia), the 2012 world champion, overtook Elia Viviani (Italy) for the silver medal with 190 points, with Viviani just holding off Jasper de Buyst (Belgium) for the bronze medal.
Switzerland took their first world title of the championships in the men’s 4000 metre Individual Pursuit, when Stefan Kueng (Switzerland) came back in the last 100 metres to beat world record holder Jack Bobridge (Australia) by just over a quarter of a second at the line. Julien Morice gave France their fourth medal of the championships with his bronze medal performance.
“It is amazing,” agreed Kueng. “I already have one silver and three bronze, now to be on the top step, that’s something else. I always go out quite slow and I was scared that he [Bobridge] might catch me, and that’s why I pushed a little bit harder in the first laps, and then I tried to just go as hard as I can. My coach said ‘keep going, keep going he’s dying’. I know in the end I always come back. In the end, I was praying for glory and that what was in my head for the last two laps.”
“I think I had the crowd on my side. They were really amazing, it was so great. I let my emotions out. I’m so happy to be here and represent Switzerland, and get these rainbow stripes. It has been a long time for Switzerland. Last year, when I lost by two tenths of a second I said it’s not going to happen again. It is always a hard fight I had, I was a little bit sick, so I always have to keep my focus, and in the end I got it. I’m happy.”
The final title of the night went to Germany’s Kristina Vogel, who successfully defended her Sprint title in two closely fought rides against Elis Ligtlee (Netherlands). Vogel won the first ride by an infinitesimal one-thousandth of a second. Tianshi Zhong (China) took the bronze medal in two straight races ahead of Stephanie Morton (Australia).
“It was really hard tournament from the qualification to the semi-final against Tianshi Zhong,” commented Vogel. “It was like the final last year in Cali, I needed a decider [against Zhong], so it was a real tough race. Also against Elis Ligtlee in the final, she had won in less heats than me, and was more fresh. I think today I won with my head and not with my legs. The last heats were that tough. We had some riders win that I never thought would win. Really tough and really close. Amazing tournament, tough tournament.”
“I am really happy now because I think a lot of people accept that I can win. Me too. It all came together today and I’m good. This is my jersey.”
The 2015 UCI Track Cycling World Championships conclude on Sunday with the final four titles to be awarded. Catch all the action on tv.uci.ch and get involved on UCI_Track #SQY15.