The third day of the 2020 UCI Track Cycling World Championships presented by Tissot at the velodrome in Berlin saw rainbow jerseys for riders from Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and hosts Germany, along with a fourth world title and a new world record for Italy's Filippo Ganna.
Hinze holds on for second sprint gold
We saw ominously strong sprinting from the German Emma Hinze taking on defending champion Wai Sei Lee (who won four rounds of the 2019/20 World Cup and came into the Worlds as odds-on favourite) and beating her cleanly, 2-0. The upset put Hinze, who was part of the team sprint gold winning squad on day 1, through to the gold final.
In the second semi, in a tough, physical race Canada’s Kelsey Mitchell just held off Anastasia Voinova to take it to a decider, but it was the Russian who went through to race Hinze for gold. In the bronze final, Wai Sei Lee took both races comfortably from Mitchell.
In the gold final’s first race Hinze held her nerve and her line to hold off Voinova. The crowd did their best to maintain their favourite’s momentum, and the 22-year-old from Hildesheim repeated the first race, holding the inside line and powering through to the finish for another 2-0, and her second rainbow jersey in as many days.
Mr Strong lives up to his name
In the men’s points race Spain’s Sebastien Mora Vendri – after his efforts in the keirin the previous day resulted in a bronze medal – once again put lots of work in, getting the backing of the sympathetic crowd. With five laps remaining, a group of three riders that he pulled along set off to take a lap on the field, which they completed with two laps to go.
New Zealand’s 19-year-old Corbin Strong, leading from mid-distance having taken an early lap, lived up to his name in controlling the race. He was active in sprints throughout the race and stayed with Mora Vendri in the late move to become the only rider to take two laps on the bunch – for 40 points – giving himself an unassailable advantage.
Mora Vendri took the silver (like last year), narrowly from the Netherlands' Roy Eefting.
But the event belonged to the teenager Strong:
“It was an unbelievable feeling. Something I dreamed of since I started this sport,” he said on his way to receive his rainbow jersey. “I’m so happy, I can’t wait to call my parents… everyone's going to be so happy for me.”
Ganna gets gold – again
In the men’s individual pursuit Corentin Ermenhault of France and Italy’s Jonathan Milan fought for bronze – which turned out a comprehensive victory for the Frenchman.
In the gold final USA’s Ashton Lambie went out fast to take on the reigning and triple world champion Filippo Ganna of Italy. The American put himself ahead upto 1km, but the Italian favourite had paced his ride perfectly, and eked out more and more advantage to win by over 4 seconds.
Note quite on pace to trouble his own world record – set earlier in the day in qualification with a time of 4.01.934 – Ganna sat up and smiled as he crossed the line, adding individual gold to the team bronze he led the quartet to the previous day, and a fourth pursuit rainbow jersey at the age of 23.
“Today is a really nice day,” said Ganna. “I finished my race in Berlin with this fantastic gold medal and this fantastic time… a fantastic championships!”
Kajahara sets up Tokyo showdown
The women’s four-event Omnium saw drama all the way. 22-year-old Japanese Yumi Kajihara won the first event, the Scratch Race, with the Netherlands’ Kirsten Wild finishing second – then being relegated for causing a crash involving five riders including Britain’s former champion Laura Kenny.
The Japanese rider stretched her overall advantage with 2nd place in the third event, the tempo race. In the elimination race Valente, Kenny and Wang of China were all caught early before a crash brought down Georgia Baker of Australia and Kajahara, who held the Omnium lead with 78 points. Both returned to the race, with the result, Wild winning, Letizia Paternoster of Italy second and Kajahara recovering to take third place for another 36 points.
In the final Omnium event, the points race, Kajahara played a brilliant defensive game, with Paternoster and Wild attacking. It was a superior display for the Japanese rider to take the rainbow jersey ahead of her home Olympics. The 20-year-old Paternoster went deep to win the points race to secure her silver medal, and a brilliant second place for Poland’s Daria Pikulik secured her bronze in the Omnium.
Glee for Ligtlee in the kilo
No longer an Olympic event but still a fan’s favourite, the men's 1km time trial was thrilling with the medal positions open right until the end. The Netherlands’ silver medalist from 2019 Theo Bos (36) set a good market of 1.00.330, bettered by Canada’s Vincent de Haitre, then Frenchman Michael D’Almeida Pushed with 1.00.103.
It was another Netherlands rider, 22-year-old Sam Ligtlee – second fastest qualifier – who forced a negative split to be the first man under a minute in the finals (also the first man to go faster in the finals than he had in the morning) to hit 59.495.
Last to go, fastest in qualification, was Quentin Lafargue of France. The defending champion went close with 59.749. Close… but second. Another gold for the men in orange with Ligtlee’s expertly delivered power!
The action continues today and concludes on Sunday.