2019 UCI Junior Track World Championships – Day 5 – Home nation Germany enjoy finishing flourish

The fifth and final day of a record-breaking UCI Junior Track World Championships at Frankfurt (Oder) started with round one of the women’s keirin. Six heats would see the six winners progress to the semi-final later in the day. The remaining riders could try again in the repechages.

Australia’s Ella Sibley, who won the first gold medal of the championships in the women’s scratch on Wednesday, was the first to qualify in heat one. She was then joined by Dziyana Miadzvetskway (BEL) and Charlotte Robinson (GBR) from heats two and three, respectively. Multi-medallist Emma Finucane (GBR) made it through heat four followed by Veronika Jabornikova (CZE) in heat five and Olivia King (NZL) in heat six.

Germany’s Tobias Buck-Gramcko, already a double gold medallist in the individual- and team-pursuit events, continued his stunning form by qualifying fastest in the men’s 1km time-trial. Buck-Gramcko averaged 58.658km/hr in registering a time of 1:01.372.

Countryman Julien Jager kept the home crowd cheering as second-fastest qualifier (1:01.514) with Daan Kool (NED) third in 1:01.680. The next five fastest also advanced to the final including double gold medallist Konstantinos Livanos (GRE), Conor Shearing (NZL), Matteo Bianchi (ITA), Ekain Jiménez Elizondo (ESP) and Ronaldo Singh Laitonjam (IND).

The women’s keirin repechages saw six heats with the winners in each qualifying for the semi-final. And from heats one through to six, the victorious qualifiers were: Jingye Sun (CHI), Nikola Seremak (POL), Bingbing Fan (CHN), Katharina Albers (GER), Kayla Hankins (USA) and Alessa-Catriona Propster (GER).

The men’s madison qualifiers were up next to face 15km (60 laps) of tactics and attrition. A last-ditch four-pointer in the last sprint gave the US duo of Brody McDonald and Ian Oelrich victory in heat one, inching ahead of the New Zealand pair of Laurence Pithie and Kiaan Watts. The top eight teams qualified for the final with places three to eight as follows: Austria, Great Britain, Canada, Italy, Kazakhstan and Argentina.

Germany’s Tim Tom Teutenberg and Hannes Wilksch dominated heat two with 34 points. They clocked 16 more points than second-placed Denmark (Robin Juel Skivild and William Blume Levy). The next six qualifiers in finishing order were: Australia, France, Ukraine, Colombia, Czech Republic and Switzerland.

The women’s keirin semi-finals started the afternoon action with the first three riders in the two heats advancing to the final. The losing three riders in each heat would face off in the 7-12 finals.

Propster (GER), who’d only qualified at the second chance in the keirin repechages, showed the power that delivered her individual sprint gold on day three by winning heat one. She qualified alongside runner-up Seremak (POL) and third-placed Sibley (AUS). New Zealand’s King stormed heat two for her place in the final with Albers (GER) and Sun (CHN) in second and third, respectively.

The first medals of the day were up for grabs next with the women’s madison 20km final. Over 80 laps of the 250m circuit, each team’s duo of riders would seek to accumulate as many points as possible from sprints, lapping their competitors and finishing position.

Great Britain’s Sophie Lewis and Elynor Backstedt racked up six points after the first two of eight sprints and were consistent throughout. But the gold would again remain elusive for the British team at these championships, as they had to settle for silver and Britain’s eighth medal of the championships – the most for any nation at that stage.

Instead, it was the USA (Megan Jastrab and Zoe Ta-Perez) who rode away with it, bagging a last-sprint 10-pointer to claim gold with 31 points. It was the talented Jastrab’s second gold of the championships after winning the omnium. Russia’s Valeria Golayeva and Mariia Miliaeva took bronze.

In the men’s 1km time-trial, all eyes were on the home nation’s Buck-Gramcko, who was looking to win his third gold medal of an incredible championships. Things looked in doubt at the halfway stage, his time being only the sixth-fastest. By the 750m mark, he was fourth quickest – but surely too far behind to win the golden hat-trick? Not a bit of it. A stunning final quarter gave him a time of 1:01.328 to beat The Netherlands’ Kool into second (1:01.622). Italy’s Bianchi grabbed bronze for his country’s third medal of the five-day championships.

In the women’s keirin 7-12 final, Jabornikova (CZE) finished top of the pack. And then it was over to the main event – the women’s keirin final, where Germany’s Propster held off Australia’s Sibley (silver) and Poland’s Seremak (bronze) for her second gold – and, incredibly, Germany’s fifth – of the championships.

Then finally, after five days of world-class action that gave a glimpse of tomorrow’s future senior world and Olympic champions, came the finalé: the men’s madison final. At 30km and 120 laps, it was one long final, but one packed with intrigue and excitement. And one that will forever be remembered by the winners Pithie and Watts of New Zealand who were superb, racking up 49 points to beat Teutenberg and Wilksch by 14 points. The Germans dominated the rest of the pack, stretching their lead over bronze medallists France to 18 points (35 to 17) by the finish line.

And so the 2019 UCI Junior Track World Championships had many highlights but, from a medal perspective, you can’t look beyond the host nation, Germany, who won nine medals – five of them gold – with two standout performers in Tobias Buck-Gramcko and Alessa-Catriona Propster. Accolades also go to Greece’s powerhouse Konstantinos Livanos, who won both his country’s medals – both gold. New Zealand, who enjoyed a terrific finish to win three golds and place second in the overall listings. But from a purely human perspective, the talk of the championships centred on India’s day-one-winning team-sprint gold where, in winning their first-ever junior track gold, showed they’re one to watch in the future, both at junior and senior level.