The 2016 Track World Championships concluded on Sunday night in London with Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish winning the madison, much to the crowds delight. The final day of the five-day event also saw rainbow jerseys handed out to women's omnium champion Laura Trott, Joachim Eilers in the men's keirin, his second gold medal of the week, and China's Tianshi Zhong.
"You couldn't have written a better script in the last 30 to get the lap again. It was like deja vu to eight years ago," Wiggins said of his madison win with Cavendish, referencing their Manchester 2008 triumph.
Having won the women's scratch title on day 2, two consistent days of racing in the omnium saw Trott regain the title she won between 2012 and 2014, including the Olympic gold medal. Trott led the omnium by 12 points ahead of the final event with Laurie Berthon (France) and Sarah Hammer (USA) capable of overhualing her lead in the points race. In the end, the 23-year-old was untroubled by her rivals, adding 17 points to her tally for her seventh career world title.
With the kilo title already in the bag, Germany's Joachim Eilers added a second rainbow jersey to his palmares in a photo finish final to the men's Keirin. The silver medal went to New Zealand's Eddie Dawkins in a repeat of the 2015 keirin final with Azizulhasni Awang also repeating his result 12-months on.
"I won two World Cups, was the World Cup leader, and now world champion, so I hope at the Olympics I can do it again," Eilers said.
Tianshi Zhong recovered from suffering the disappointment of relegation in the immediate aftermath of winning the women's team sprint with Gong Jinjie to claim her first individual world title. The 25-year-old, who won the team sprint title last year, qualified second fastest than saw off Kate O'Brien and Kristina Vogel before besting Lin Junhong in the final without need for a third race. The bronze went to Vogel with the German getting the better of Anna Meares (Australia).
On Saturday, Jason Kenny and Fernando Gaviria claimed gold medals in the men's sprint and omnium events respectively while Poland's Katarzyna Pawlowska won the points race.
For Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the London Track World Championships, click here.
The crowd was vocal and parochial in the London Velodrome for all five days of racing (SWpix.com)
Eighth in last year's Paris-Nice prologue, Michael Matthews powered to victory on the Conflans-Sainte-Honorine course in his first outing for Orica-GreenEdge in 2016. The 25-year-old, who won a stage, wore the leader's jersey and won the points classification at the 2015 'race to the sun', covered the 6.1km course in 7:39 minutes, one mere second faster than Giant-Alpecin's Tom Dumoulin. Cannondale's Patrick Bevin was third at three seconds in his first outing as NZ national champion.
"It's my first race of the season so to beat a guy like Dumoulin who is one of the best time trial specialists in the world, it's definitely very special," said Matthews who is targeting a strong GC performance this year.
The one-day Italian GP Industria & Artigianato race proved to be a happy hunting ground for Australian Simon Clarke with the Cannondale rider putting in a strong performance in the rain to cap off his team's early-work. It was Clarke's first victory since the 2015 Jayco Herald Sun Tour and first in the green of Cannondale off the back of several weeks of altitude.
Southeast's Andrea Fedi and Movistar's Giovanni Visconti rounded out the podium with Clarke's teammate Rigoberto Uran finishing fourth. Ramunas Navardauskas made it three Cannondale riders in the top ten as he then crossed the line in sixth place.
"It's great to win my first race for Cannondale. I'm really motivated this year because it's a new state after four years at Orica. I love racing in Italy and know these roads because I raced for the ISD team (now Southeast) that is based here," said Clarke.
Clarke will next line up at Tirreno-Adriatico, starting this Wednesday, as he and Cannondale continue to prepare to win the Giro d'Italia with two-time runner-up Uran in May.
Lotto Soudal's Sean De Bie has claimed the biggest win of his career thus far with overall success at the three-day Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen. The 24-year-old was seventh in the prologue, won by BMC's Tom Bohli, 21st on stage 1 and second on stage 2 where disapointment at missing the win quickly turned to joy as he explained.
"After the finish I was disappointed at first instance because I had missed out on the stage win, but soon I realized I had won the GC and of course I am over the moon now. In the sprint I maybe was too much focussed on [Lukasz] Wisniowski who was only one second behind me on GC and whom I had to look out for," said De Bie of the final sprint which was won by Timothy Dupont (Veranda's Willems Cycling Team).
De Bie's final winning margin was seven seconds ahead of Etixx-Quick Step's Lukasz Wisniowski and 13 seconds ahead of Katusha neo-pro Nils Politt. De Bie also won the points and young rider classifications while Lotto Soudal was the best team.
On Saturday, LottoNL-Jumbo's Dylan Groenewegen claimed his second win of the season having previously won a stage at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. The 22-year-old joined LottoNL-Jumbo this season having spent 2015 with Roompot - Oranje Peloton.
Fabian Cancellara and world champion Lizzie Armitstead enjoyed Strade Bianche victories in Sienna's Piazza del Campo on Saturday. It was Cancellara's third career victory at the race, which was only enjoying its tenth edition this year, while Armitstead made it two wins from two starts.
Armitstead claimed her win ahead of Kasia Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv) and Emma Johansson (Wiggle-High5) who had formed the winning break on the fifth of seven gravel sectors spread across the 121km percorso. Niewiadoma led up the final climb into the Piazza but when Armitstead attacked in sight of archway, there would be no stopping the 27-year-old.
With Etixx-Quick Step duo Gianluca Brambilla and Zdenek Stybar plus World champion Peter Sagan for company from the penultimate gravel sector, Cancellara rode a considered and tactical finale for his victory. Brambilla looked assured of claiming the victory, only to find the climb up to the Piazza del Campo a hill too far. As the Italian started to go backwards, Cancellara and Stybar jumped passed with the Trek-Segafredo crucially taking the front position which he then held all the way to the finish line for his third won of 2016.
Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) won the first Worldtour event, Strade Bianche (Bettini Photo)
A road race and time trial double at the Oceania Championships in Bendigo by Sean Lake has elevated the AvantiIsowhey Sports rider to top of the final Oceani Tour standings for 2016. Australian national time trial champion Katrin Garfoot won the elite women's race against the clock while Holden Women's Cycling Team's Shannon Malseed won the road race ahead of Jess Mundy. The U23 men's time trial was won by Alexander Morgan and the road race by 19-year-old Michael Storer.
Lake disposed Team Sky's Peter Kennaugh at the top of the Oceania standings to become the 2016 UCI Oceania Tour champion. Recent winners include Taylor Gunman (Madison Genesis) and Orica-GreenEdge duo Rob Power and Damien Howson.
Drapac's Will Clarke outsprinted UnitedHealthcare's Carlos Alzate and Team Illuminate's Alex Ray for stage 1 of the Tour de Taiwan from the remnants of a ten-man group that formed late in the 83.2km stage.
"I knew with about five or six kilometres to go we were not going to be caught. My best chance was to sprint so I was just making sure it stayed together. I thought the United Healthcare rider (Alzate) was fast so I followed him into the last corner and kicked past him," Will Clarke said of his win.
Clarke won the Jayco Herald Sun Tour prologue last month to claim the first leader's jersey of the race but finds himself in second place overall in Taiwan as bonus seconds along the stage handed the race lead to Alzate.
Stage 2 takes place Monday with a circuit race in New Taipei City.
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