Dutch riders out of London Track Champions League events due to COVID-19

Picture by Will Palmer/SWpix.com - 27/11/2021 - Cycling - UCI Track Champions League Round 2 - Lithuania / Cido Arena, Panevėžys, Lithuania - Poland's Mateusz Rudyk is chased down by the Netherland's Harrie Lavreysen during the men's sprint first round.
(Image credit: SWPix)

Dutch riders Shanne Braspennincx, Laurine Van Riessen and Jeffrey Hoogland will not participate in the final two rounds of the Track Champions League track series in London after Braspennincx and Van Riessen tested positive for COVID-19 following a final training session on Wednesday. According to L’Equipe, Hoogland has been deemed a close contact case and is thus in isolation and unable to travel to Britain.  

Braspennincx won the women’s keirin at the Tokyo Olympic Games and was lying sixth in the women’s sprint competition. Hoogland, the current keirin and team sprint world champion, was lying third in the men’s sprint standings before the final two rounds in London on Friday and Saturday.

Health restrictions introduced in Israel due to the appearance and spread of a new coronavirus variant known as Omicron has sparked the cancellation of the fifth and final event on December 11, and so the London races will bring down the curtain on the new, innovative series. 

Two rounds of the Track Champions League have already taken place in Mallorca, Spain, on November 6, and in Panevėžys, Lithuania, on November 27. However the event inSaint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, near Paris scheduled for November 20 was cancelled because the velodrome is being used as an essential community COVID-19 vaccination centre. 

Despite the loss of events, organisers have said points scoring, final classification and the total prize pool of €500,000 will be unaffected.

Germany's Emma Hinze and Great Britain's Katie Archibald lead the overall standings in the women's sprint and endurance categories, respectively, after the first two rounds. Sebastian Mora of Spain moved into the lead of the men's endurance overall standings, after the second round last weekend in Lithuania, while Harrie Lavreysen of the Netherlands increased his lead in the men's sprint standings.

The London events will be held in the Lee Valley VeloPark that hosted the 2012 Olympic Games. Both evenings are said to be sold out despite the high number of the COVID-19 cases in Britain. Under new rules, spectators are required to wear a face covering at all times, apart from while seated, eating or drinking.

Double Olympic gold medalist Katie Archibald will be joined by three other British riders in London,with Ed Clancy returning the Olympic velodrome alongside world championship bronze medallists Rhys Britton and Sophie Capewell.

“There’s something special about the track and although it’s a long time ago now, I still have so many great memories from there at London 2012. I love the place and always look forward to coming,” Clancy said. 

“I’ll try my best this weekend but I’m not in great form at the moment. I’ve been training well and my back is in a better place than it was in round one but it’s going to be hard for me to set the crowd on fire! Luckily we have Katie, as well as young Rhys and Sophie who will all do well.”

Friday’s  Track Champions League begins at 20:00 CET and will be broadcast via Eurosport, GCN+ and a host of international broadcasters.

Cyclingnews will have reports and photo galleries from the two evenings. 

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