Archibald, Strong to defend at second UCI Track Champions League round
Hinze and Lavreysen will try to keep sprint series lead in Panevezys, Lithuania
The UCI Track Champions League continues on Saturday, November 27 with its second round at the Cido Arena in Panevėžys, Lithuania.
The velodrome, which opened in 2008 and hosted the European Championships in 2012, will host the new action-packed racing format where the endurance leaders Katie Archibald (Great Britain) and Corbin Strong (New Zealand) will try to defend their lead from the first round in Mallorca.
Sprint sensations Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) and Emma Hinze (Germany) powered to the lead in Mallorca, although the world champion Lavreysen has but a four-point lead on German Stefan Bötticher and Hinze a slim two-point advantage on Olympic champion Kelsey Mitchell.
All of the best riders will compete across five series races in the new race format, which concentrates the Elimination and Scratch Race for the endurance competitors and Sprint and Keirin for the fast-twitch riders into three hours in a spectator-friendly format.
In the first round, Canadian Maggie Coles-Lyster had a breakthrough performance in the Scratch Race which she won from a successful three-rider breakaway that barely managed to hold off the chasing bunch. Archibald, who led the chase to the line, is sure not to make the same mistake twice.
Corbin Strong was another stand-out performer, taking the win in the Scratch Race with a late surge and then powering to victory in the Elimination Race. The 2020 Points Race world champion was not expecting to take the lead, but relished the result.
"It feels pretty cool to be leading overall – not something I was expecting coming into this week. I’ve got a target on my back for the next race, but I’m looking forward to the challenge," Strong said after Mallorca.
The Sprint events are unique to the Track Champions League in that the early rounds pit three riders against each other rather than two, making for different tactics.
Lavreysen said: "I like racing with just three riders in the heats. I was nervous because this is new for me – it’s different to riding one-vs-one and very technical. I hope to win some more – it’s great racing here.”
The second round will be a special one for the three Lithuanian riders who were selected to compete in the series, with two-time world champion Simona Krupeckaitė and Vasilijus Lendel in the sprint competitions and Olivija Baleisyte, who is currently third in the women's endurance after making the breakaway in the Scratch Race.
"The week before the second round we competed in the Lithuanian National Championships and it was a great test of form before the second round," Krupeckaité said.
"I feel prepared, excited and can’t wait for Saturday night. It’s a rare chance to see the best riders in the world and we are lucky to have such an event in Panevezys and the opportunity to compete in front of our fans”.
Baleisyte said: "It's been a dream since my teenage years to compete in such a big event at the Cido arena and it will come true very soon. I hope our fans will give us the best support and create an amazing atmosphere."
The UCI Track Champions League is available worldwide courtesy of Eurosport and streaming on GCN. Round two begins at 18:00 CET on Saturday.
The remaining rounds take place in London on December 3-4 and in Tel Aviv on December 11.
- Event 1 Women's Sprint - First Round (6 Heats of 3 Riders)
- Event 2 men's Keirin - First Round (3 Heats of 6 Riders)
- Event 3 men's Scratch (20 Laps)
- Event 4 Women's Sprint - Semi-finals (2 Heats of 3 Riders)
- Event 5 men's Keirin - Final (Final of 6 Riders)
- Event 6 Women's Scratch (20 Laps)
- Event 7 Women's Sprint - Final (Final of 2 Riders)
- Event 8 men's Sprint - First Round (6 Heats of 3 Riders)
- Event 9 men's Elimination (Elimination Every 2 Laps)
- Event 10 Women's Keirin - First Round (3 Heats of 6 Riders)
- Event 11 men's Sprint - Semi-finals (2 Heats of 3 Riders)
- Event 12 Women's Elimination (Elimination Every 2 Laps)
- Event 13 Women's Keirin - Final (Final of 6 Riders)
- Event 14 men's Sprint - Final (Final of 2 Riders)
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