The 2018 UCI Track Cycling World Championships presented by Tissot opened on Wednesday in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, with three rainbow jerseys awarded. These are the first track world championships in the Netherlands since they were previously held in Apeldoorn in 2011.
Host Netherlands had a very strong start to the Championships, winning two world titles plus a silver medal. The Netherland's Kirsten Wild took the first title awarded, in the Women's Scratch Race, chasing down an attack by Ireland's Lydia Gurley and then holding off the rest of the field for the rainbow jersey. Jolien D'hoore of Belgium won the silver medal, outkicking Amalie Dideriksen of Denmark at the finish line.
"It's really, really nice to win, for my own people, it's amazing," said Wild. "It's the best riders of the world to compete and I can't believe that I won solo. My tactic was to stay really calm in the peloton and wait for the sprint, but it didn't go quite to my plan. This worked really well. Yes, this win is amazing. In Apeldoorn to win, I have no words."
In the Team Sprint competitions, the Dutch men's squad went up against Olympic champions Great Britain, decisively winning by half a second. France beat the Russian Federation for bronze.
"Oh, this is not normal," said Jeffrey Hoogland. "To do this in our own country after being second twice in a row. Now getting the Rainbow jersey is incredible, and we couldn't be happier. That we could win in our own country in front of our own crowd is special."
In the women's final, it was the German favourites who took gold, also winning by half a second ahead of the Dutch squad. The Russian Federation beat China for bronze.
"It's incredible," said Kristina Vogel. "The whole crowd was shouting, winning here and beating the Dutch, when they have a home crowd, those spectators push and encourage. But maybe it was also a lot of pressure [on them]. We did a very good job, and it is just incredible to win the gold medal and be World Champion. It has been four years since we won the gold medal (in the team sprint) so it is very special."
In addition to the title events, the opening rounds of the Team Pursuit competitions for men and women were held on the first day. Defending champions United States barely held off the Olympic champion Great Britain in qualifying, with Italy and New Zealand rounding out the top four. Two of these teams will ride for gold on Thursday.
The men's Team Pursuit will see world record holder and Olympic champion Great Britain face Denmark in the gold medal race, while Germany and Italy will race for bronze.