The 2019 Junior Track Cycling World Championships got underway Wednesday in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, with the team pursuit qualifications around the impressive Oderlandhalle velodrome.
Italy’s powerful female quartet of Matilde Vitillo, Camilla Alessio, Eleonora Camilla Gasparrini and Sofia Collinelli recorded the fastest time of the morning, registering 4:28.192 with an impressive average speed of 53.692km/hr. New Zealand’s team (Emily Paterson, Mckenzie Milne, Ally Wollaston and Samantha Donnelly) recorded the second-fastest time in the qualifiers, 4:29.935, with the Russian Federation (Taisia Churenkova, Anastaysia Kutsenko, Valeria Golayeva and Mariia Miliaeva) the third-fastest time of 4:33.239.
The eight qualifiers for Thursday’s first-round face-off are as follows: Australia v South Korea; Canada v Great Britain; Russia v New Zealand; Italy v Germany. The women’s team pursuit medals are also to be decided tomorrow.
The men’s team pursuit followed the women’s event and the home nation had something to cheer about thanks to the Germans’ impressive performance. Tobias Buck-Gramcko, Hannes Wilksch, Moritz Kretschy and Nicolas Heinrich executed a fluid ride for the fastest time of the qualifier in 4:02.519. Russia (Ivan Novolodskii, Vlas Shichkin, Ilia Schegolkov and Egor Igoshev) weren’t far behind, in 4:02.771. France (Kévin Vauquelin, Antonin Corvaisier, Clément Petit and Florian Pardin) were third fastest at 4:03.508.
That left the eight qualifiers as follows: Canada v Italy; Denmark v South Korea; Russia v France; Germany v New Zealand.
The women’s team sprint was next up on the velodrome, for two laps of the 250m track. China’s impressive Jing Luo and Jingye Sun went fastest with a leading time of 34.965. But very close behind sat the recent European Championship winners Poland (Nikola Seremak and Nikola Wielowska), also breaking the 35sec barrier in 34.997. Great Britain’s Emma Finucane and Charlotte Robinson were third fastest in 35.312.
It meant China, Poland, Great Britain plus the next five fastest – Germany, USA, India, Belarus and Canada – qualified for the next round later the same day.
Next on track was the men’s team sprint qualifiers with the Indian trio of Jemsh Singh Keithellakpam, Esow Alben and Ronaldo Singh Laitonjam qualifying fastest in 45.094 at an impressive average speed of 59.874km/hr. Australia (John Trovas, Carlos Carismo and Sam Gallagher) clocked the second-fastest time of 45.162 with Great Britain (James Bunting, Matti Egglestone and Rhys Thomas) third quickest in 45.355.
In addition to those three, the following five nations also qualified for the next round: Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Greece and China.
The women’s Scratch (7.5km and 30 laps) would provide the first medals of the five-day UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships with that honour going to Australia’s Ella Sibley. The Australian National Champion became the first rider to wear the rainbow jersey at these championships. UCI World Cycling Centre trainee Catalina Anais Soto Campos took a fine silver for Chile, with Great Britain’s Ella Barnwell rounding out the podium.
The women’s and men’s team sprint respective first rounds followed. The women’s event went with the form set earlier in the day as the morning’s four fastest all qualified for Wednesday evening’s battle for medals.
Germany’s Alessa-Catriona Propster and Christina Sperlich dominated the USA riders and surprised everyone, winning in 34.685, beating their competition by 1.567 and recording the fastest time of the first round.
Great Britain versus India was a much closer affair with Finucane and Robinson edging it by just 0.076. Poland proved too strong for Belarus (34.767 versus 36.055) but the Chinese pair of Jing and Jingye just beat them to the final in 34.733. In the process, they beat Canada by 1.815.
It means Great Britain would face Poland for bronze on Wednesday evening, while Germany and China would ride for gold.
The men’s team sprint first round mimicked the women’s, with the four fastest from the morning qualified for the evening medal competition. Germany (45.045) and Great Britain (45.317) beat the Netherlands (45.507) and Canada (46.281), respectively, qualifying for the ride-off for bronze. Australia (45.023) edged out Greece (45.700), while India rode into favourite status with a brilliant ride of 44.764, beating China’s time of 46.248.
Up next came the men’s team pursuit first round. And what a memorable first round it turned out to be as not one but two nations broke the world record held for two years by Russia. In the third heat, France, who only qualified third fastest in the earlier qualifier, recorded a stunning 4:00.384 to take more than half a second off the 2017 Russian mark of 4:00.972 on the way to beating Russia on the track. Then in heat four, Germany went faster than the previous Russian world record with a time of 4:00.420. It means France will face Germany for gold in tomorrow’s final, while South Korea take on Italy for the bronze medal.
After the excitement of the team pursuit first round came the women’s and men’s team sprint finals. The bronze medal went to form with Poland looking comfortable beating Great Britain (34.663 v 35.073). Then came the final: Germany versus China. The velodrome fell silent and then roared into action as the riders began… but the partisan home crowd couldn’t distract the Chinese pair of Jing Luo and Jingye Sun from winning the Championship’s second gold medal in the day’s fastest time of 34.146. Germany’s Propster and Sperlich battled valiantly but were always up against it after China’s opening lap of 19.636 squeezed out a near half-second lead.
The men’s team sprint final followed with Great Britain putting in a superb performance to win bronze in 45.009 over Germany’s 45.058. Day one’s action concluded with India versus Australia in the eagerly-anticipated final. And what a race it was as the Australian trio of Trovas, Carismo and Gallagher led over the first of two laps. But the Indians, who were fastest earlier in the day, stunned the crowd and the Australians with a 12.915 second and final lap to take gold in 44.625, winning by just 0.056. Incredible stuff from Yanglem, Alben and Laitonjam, who offered India its first-ever cycling world title. A fantastic way to end day a memorable first day of competition!
Medal Table after Day 1
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