Tennant takes bronze in individual pursuit
After taking silver in the team pursuit, Andy Tennant claimed bronze with third place in the individual pursuit at the Track World Championships. The competition for the third spot on the podium split the home crowd as Tennant rode off against his Great Britain teammate Owain Doull.
Doull came out quicker over the opening kilometre but Tennant pulled it back and eventually beat him by just under two seconds. “I wasn’t expecting it, this was a big surprise for me and one that I’m delighted about,” Tennant told the press.
“It’s not that important because it is a different event entirely. These events are more for fun, although, I can tell you it’s not that fun during it, but there is some satisfaction at the end. You can show that you’re going well and it puts you in good stead. It’s a different event to the team pursuit. The team pursuit is more of a sprint discipline now but it does give you confidence going forward. Everything in the programme is about Olympic events so these events are secondary. Going well in the IP definitely gives you confidence that you can go well in the TP, but yesterday’s ride was more important.”
Tennant is one of several riders who are fighting for a spot in Great Britain’s team pursuit squad in Rio. Britain brought six riders for this World Championships and tested several line-ups throughout the two days of competition, where they would go on to take silver behind Australia. With Mark Cavendish also looking for a spot to ensure his place in the Omnium, there are no guarantees for Rio.
“To be honest, my preparation over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been struggling," he said. "I got a ride in the semis and I wasn’t really expecting that opportunity, and I stepped up, which personally I was very chuffed about. I think we’re on that right track. I’m not going to bet my house on it, I can’t afford to do that. I’ll bet 10 quid. I think as a squad we’re moving in the right direction and obviously Cav doing well in the Omnium is going to put a spoon in the pot and stir it up.”
Team pursuit silver a boost for Canada
Canada continued their medal run in the endurance events with a silver medal in the team pursuit behind the USA. Canada have been knocking on the door of the top spot for some time with a podium placing at every World Championships since 2012. There was a small hint of disappointment at missing out again but the Canadians are looking at the long game.
“You come to a World Championships, regardless of what shape you come in, and you always want to end up with the rainbows. It wasn’t quite our day today but we’re looking a little further down the line now,” Jasmin Glaesser told Cyclingnews.
“We’ve been consistent for the last few years. We were the overall World Cup winners and now a silver medal at the World Championships, it has definitely been a big motivation boost going into Rio but we know have work to do. Great Britain and Australia didn’t come here quite as strong as we expected so it’s going to be very close in Rio and we’re going to have to have everybody at their best.”
It wasn’t the smoothest run into the final and they were almost eliminated in the preceding round. Canada were already down to the bare minimum of three going into the final laps but looked set to have the beating of New Zealand. However, when their third rider began to lose ground they could see that chance slipping away. Their winning margin was a scarily close three thousandths of a second.
“When I crossed the line, I looked back and I could see that my teammate was still finishing so I knew that it was going to be very close. It’s a team effort out there and it is about managing the efforts of the team and their strengths on the day. I was so stoked that we were able to pull together and just squeak onto the end of the day,” said Glaesser.
Australia miss the medals in team pursuit
Defending women’s team pursuit champions Australia’s failure to win a medal was probably one of the surprises of the championships. The team lost out to the USA in round one and missed out on the bronze final by over two tenths of a second. There was a silver lining in their final ride of the competition where they comfortably caught Italy before the 3,000-metre mark and that sends them into the summer with some positives to take with them.
“I think we’ve done everything right and we can’t complain with a fifth. We were just beaten by some better teams on the day. We were happy with our last ride and we’re right there and in a good place,” Ashlee Ankudinoff said after the event. “We saved our best ride until last, but sometimes that's the way it goes. We made it as hard as we could, we weren't just going to go for the win.
“We didn't have a good first ride today, so we went into the final ride with nothing to lose and we really went for it for the first three (kilometres) as we knew we had a bit of a buffer over Italy. It's really, really positive to back up three rides and do that time - 3:14 for a three-kilometre is just as good as the Americans, the Canadians and Great Britain.”
With Britain also only making the bronze final it proved to be a momentous moment, as the USA went on to take their first title. This year’s competition has seemed tougher than ever with multiple nations all in with a shout of taking the medals and Ankudinoff says the new strength and depth in the team pursuit will push them on.
“It’s the first time that Great Britain or Australia haven’t won the World Championships. America have really brought it to us and the depth of the team pursuit is great going into Rio,” she said. “It’s really exciting and it’s going to keep us on our toes. We’re going to go back to doing what we do best, we’re going to train hard and come up and we’ll be full strength come Rio.”