Bradley Wiggins and the British men’s team pursuit squad missed out on a medal on the opening day of the Cali World Cup as the women claimed bronze despite being forced to compete with just three riders.
The British women set the second fastest time in the qualifying round but lost out to the USA in the first round. Katie Archibald, Clara Horne and Joanna Rowsell rode a 4:26.662 in the bronze medal clash against China to win Britain’s only medal of the opening day. Fourth rider Elinor Barker was required to take to the start but pulled out immediately due to illness. They were also without Laura Trott, who was pulled from the team after the qualifiers to give her a chance to rest before competing in the omnium.
It was a close call in the end with Britain beating China by less than two tenths to take the bronze. Following the event, Rowsell heaped praise on Barker for ensuring the team could take the start. “She has been feeling a bit unwell,” Rowsell said. “Regulations say that although you can finish with three you can’t start with three so I think she was a real hero to be getting up on the line so we can start the bike race.
“Racing with three was quite a battle but we enjoyed it and got it, just, thanks to Elinor for putting us up on the line when she wasn’t feeling up for it.”
Canada put in a dominant performance to beat the USA by more than five seconds to claim the gold.
The men’s team pursuit squad didn’t fare as well, qualifying fourth before losing out to eventual winners Russia in the next round. There were some positives as they caught Germany in the battle for fifth place. One of their key rivals in the event, Australia rode to third with Switzerland backing up their European Championships performance to take second.
Medals were also awarded in the team sprint events on the first day of competition. Germany bounced back from a disappointing showing in the Europeans to take the gold medal in the men’s competition. They beat Poland in the finals while the Netherlands came through against Australia for third place.
The gold medal battle in the women’s competition saw an exciting duel between China’s Jinjie Gong and Tianshi Zhong, and Australia’s Anna Meares and Stephanie Morton. It was the Chinese that came out on top but Meares and Morton’s performance was enough to set a new Australian record.
“I'm very happy with how I rode in my position and as a collective with Steph," said Meares afterwards. "A new Australian record... Everyone loves setting a record. To take silver behind the world champions from China is nothing to be disappointed about.”
The surprise of the night was the Olympic Champions from Germany Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte missing out on a medal as they lost out to Rusvelo.
The second day of competition will see medals awarded in the women’s scratch race, the men’s keirin, the men’s individual pursuit and the women’s sprint.
The points race was the final medal competition of the night with Hong Kong’s King Lok Cheung beating Spain’s Eloy Teruel.