Wiasak, New Zealand, Mora, Russia win first Track Worlds gold

The first medals of the 2016 UCI Track World Championships were dished out in the evening session on the opening day, with golds for Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and Spain.

There was controversy in the women’s team sprint final as the Chinese duo were busy celebrating a second consecutive title, only to be later relegated for an illegal change, handing Russia the gold. All good and legal in the other finals as Rebecca Wiasak (Australia) successfully defended her individual pursuit title, Spain’s Sebastian Mora Vedri took a dazzling victory in the men’s scratch race, and New Zealand atoned for last year’s disappointment with gold in the men’s team sprint.

The afternoon session was characterised by an underwhelming display from the Brits in front of their home crowd, with the both sprint teams failing to qualify, though Bradley Wiggins and co did set the fastest time in the men’s team pursuit.

Evening Session - Wiasak defends individual pursuit title

The first gold medal of the 2016 UCI Track World Championships went to Australia, with Rebecca Wiasak successfully defending her individual pursuit title in the opening event of the evening session.

The 31-year-old, who had set a velodrome record time in qualifying, put in another dominant display and was making up ground on opponent Malgorzata Wojtyra right from the gun. She had the Pole in her sights when she crossed the line to stop the clock on 3:34.099.

A few minutes beforehand, Canada’s Annie Foreman-Mackey wrapped up the first medal of the Championships, beating Ruth Winder (USA) in the ride for the bronze medal.

Women's Team Sprint

China’s Jinjie Gong and Tianshi Zhong were busy celebrating what they thought was another world title in the women’s team sprint when a shock announcement came in some five minutes later, saying they had been relegated for an illegal change.

The gold instead went to the Russians, Anastasiia Voinova and Daria Shmeleva, which represents a slice of revenge – albeit delayed – after they lost out to the world record holders in last year’s final. The match had to be restarted after Voinova’s gate failed to released and she took a tumble but once going it was neck and neck, with the original result giving it to China by less than a 100th of a second.

The bronze medal ride was also a repeat of 12 months ago, with the German duo of Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte exacting revenge of their own on Australia’s Anna Meares and Stephanie Morton. Despite not staying together as well as the Australians on the first lap, Germany finished it off impressively to stop the clock on 32.740.

Men's Team Sprint

To cap off the first day of racing, New Zealand atoned for the disappointment of 12 months ago, when they were disqualified in the final, by taking gold in the men’s team sprint. The Kiwi’s had set the fastest time in qualifying and they duly backed it up in the final producing a comeback victory of sorts over the Netherlands. The Dutch had started the stronger, establishing a slim lead over the first lap and holding it into the final lap, but Eddie Dawkins stormed the final lap to turn things round, stopping the clock on 43.257 before celebrating wildly.

The Germans, who have performed strongly all season, will receive little consolation from winning a second consecutive bronze medal. They qualified fourth fastest and clocked 43.536 to narrowly edge out reigning champions France in the third/fourth place ride.

Men's Scratch Race

Morning session

The 2016 Track World Championships began with the team pursuit qualifying, with 14 teams fighting it out for eight spots in Thursday afternoon’s first round.

Great Britain put in a strong performance to set the fastest time of the afternoon completing their four kilometres in 3:55.664. Australia was second fastest with New Zealand in third. Australia set a time of 3:55.867 with New Zealand stopping the clock in a time of 3:57.050.

The three teams all rode carefully paced rides to ensure they qualified for the finals but saved their legs for the pursuits to come. However the Kiwi were a little ragged in their execution.

The next round of the men’s team pursuit will be on Thursday afternoon with the finals during the evening session. The fastest eight teams go through to the finals and the qualification rules mean Great Britain will face Italy, while Australia will clash with New Zealand. Denmark will face the Netherlands, while Germany will face Russia.

The Italian squad, featuring Team Sky sprinter Elia Viviani, set the benchmark early on with a time of 3:57.800, beating the previous fastest time by almost 10 seconds. The Italians also dipped below four minutes for the first ever and set a new national record. Their time would stand up to tests from the Germans and the Danish – who looked set to beat them until they nearly lost their third man on the final lap. It wasn’t until the Commonwealth champions Australia rolled out that the Italians slipped down the rankings.

Australia looked confident and smooth as they went almost two seconds faster than Italy, putting the new benchmark at 3:55.867. The Great Britain team followed the Australians out on track to a rapturous cheer from the home crowd that hardly died down until they completed their four kilometres. With six riders to pick from, the Great Britain team opted to go for Bradley Wiggins, Owain Doull, Stephen Burke, and Jon Dibben.

The British went out fast and had almost one second lead over the Australians at the halfway point. That came down over the second half of their run as they lost Burke, while Wiggins pulled out a small gap on his remaining two teammates. They regrouped, however, and stopped the clock just 0.2 seconds quicker than the Australians.

Defending world champions New Zealand were the last to set a time. After coming out of the blocks quickly, the Kiwis lost some time and would qualify in third.

Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand all qualified with ease. They would be joined by Italy, Denmark, Germany, Russia and the Netherlands. The biggest shock was the loss of European champions Switzerland, who are missing key rider Stefan Küng due to illness.

Wiasak tops women's pursuit qualifying

It was time for the women and the individual pursuit once the men’s team qualifying had wrapped up. Rebecca Wiasak (Australia) set herself up nicely to defend her individual pursuit title from last year by setting the quickest time in qualifying. Wiasak looked confident right from the off and finished with a time of 3:31.287, 3.2 seconds ahead of the previous fastest time. She will race against Poland’s Malgorzata Wojtyra, who looked set for the bronze medal match off but staged a great comeback to secure herself a medal.

It will be an all North American affair for the bronze medal with Annie Foreman-Mackey (Canada) and Ruth Winder (USA). Winder went out in the second heat, along with Hong Kong’s Yao Pang, and set a strong time. Her run was somewhat hindered by having to come around a much slower Pang in the latter stages. Foreman-Mackey also had to negotiate Edita Mazureviciute (Lithuania) in her heat. The finals for the women’s individual pursuit will be the first event in the evening session.

China pips Russia in Women's Team Sprint qualifying

In the women’s team sprint, defending champions China just pipped Russia with their time of 32.482, to set up a repeat of last year’s final. China had a slower first lap and was 0.1 of a second down on the Russians but a strong final lap gave them the quickest time. The Chinese will be expecting to go even quicker in this evening’s final, as they did in 2015 when they set a World Record en-route to gold.

It’s déjà vu in the bronze medal sprint with Australia and Germany going head to head as they did in France a year ago. Australia went with the combination of Anna Meares and Stephanie Morton for their qualification heat, leaving Kaarle McCullogh on the bench. Mears rode in first position and put the Australian’s ahead but they faded in the second lap, allowing Germany to come back at them. Hardly anything separated them and it will be a tight battle in the evening final.

Going into the competition, Great Britain’s team sprint entry into the Olympics was hanging in the balance. They had to put their worries behind them though as they went up against the Canadians. Their heat got off to a stuttering start with a false start called, forcing them to reset and refocus. Katy Marchand and Jessica Varnish missed out on a shot at a medal but they did finish two places ahead of the French, who finished 7th, but it wasn’t enough for them to make the cut for the Olympics.

Men's Team Sprint

There were a few upsets in the final event of the afternoon session, the qualification for the men’s team sprint. Defending champions France missed out on a spot in the gold medal match-up as they set only the third fastest time. They will be up against last year’s bronze medal winners Germany who were languishing outside the medals until a stunning final lap pushed them up the standings.

Going for gold in the men’s team sprint will the New Zealand team, who set the fastest time in qualifying, completing their three laps in 43.096 seconds. Between them and a gold medal will be the surprise performers the Netherlands, who were just 0.170 seconds slower than the Kiwis.

Both Australia and Great Britain missed out on the medals, finishing in fifth and sixth respectively. Australia is fielding a very young team this year, with Shane Perkins missing out on selection. It will be a disappointing result for the British, who looked like they were back on the right path in the final round of the World Cup in Hong Kong, but this shows that there is still plenty of work to be done.

Full Results

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Men's Team Pursuit Qualifying
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Great Britain0:03:55.664
Jonathan Dibben (Great Britain)
Steven Burke (Great Britain)
Owain Doull (Great Britain)
Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain)
2Australia0:03:55.867
Sam Welsford (Australia)
Michael Hepburn (Australia)
Alexander Porter (Australia)
Miles Scotson (Australia)
3New Zealand0:03:57.050
Aaron Gate (New Zealand)
Pieter Bulling (New Zealand)
Dylan Kennett (New Zealand)
Nicholas Kergozou (New Zealand)
4Italy0:03:57.800
Elia Viviani (Italy)
Liam Bertazzo (Italy)
Simone Consonni (Italy)
Francesco Lamon (Italy)
5Denmark0:03:59.196
Lasse Norman Hansen (Denmark)
Frederik Madsen (Denmark)
Rasmus Christian Quaade (Denmark)
Casper Von Folsach (Denmark)
6Germany0:04:00.127
Leif Lampater (Germany)
Nils Schomber (Germany)
Kersten Thiele (Germany)
Domenic Weinstein (Germany)
7Russian Federation0:04:00.812
Sergei Shilov (Russian Federation)
Dmitrii Sokolov (Russian Federation)
Dmitrii Strakhov (Russian Federation)
Kirill Sveshnikov (Russian Federation)
8Netherlands0:04:01.827
Dion Beukeboom (Netherlands)
Roy Eefting (Netherlands)
Wim Stroetinga (Netherlands)
Jan-Willem Van Schip (Netherlands)
9Switzerland0:04:02.066
Olivier Beer (Switzerland)
Silvan Dillier (Switzerland)
Frank Pasche (Switzerland)
Thery Schir (Switzerland)
10People's Republic of China0:04:03.900
Yang Fan (China)
Hao Liu (China)
Chen Lu Qin (China)
Ping An Shen (China)
11France0:04:05.102
Benjamin Thomas (France)
Thomas Denis (France)
Julien Duval (France)
Florian Maitre (France)
12Canada0:04:05.641
Adam Jamieson (Canada)
Sean Mackinnon (Canada)
Remi Pelletier-Roy (Canada)
Ed Veal (Canada)
13Spain0:04:09.909
Julio Alberto Amores Palacios (Spain)
Xavier Canellas Sanchez (Spain)
Vicente Garcia De Mateos Rubio (Spain)
Illart Zuazubiskar Gallastegi (Spain)
14Ukraine0:04:13.977
Vitaliy Hryniv (Ukraine)
Roman Gladysh (Ukraine)
Vladyslav Kreminskyi (Ukraine)
Taras Shevchuk (Ukraine)
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Women Individual Pursuit Qualifying
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rebecca Wiasak (Australia)0:03:31.287
2Malgorzata Wojtyra (Poland)0:03:34.519
3Annie Foreman-Mackey (Canada)0:03:35.694
4Ruth Winder (United States)0:03:37.016
5Mieke Kroger (Germany)0:03:38.002
6Elise Delzenne (France)0:03:39.600
7Melanie Spath (Ireland)0:03:40.030
8Beatrice Bartelloni (Italy)0:03:40.394
9Lotte Kopecky (Belgium)0:03:40.702
10Gloria Rodriguez Sanchez (Spain)0:03:41.992
11Edita Mazureviciute (Lithuania)0:03:46.051
12Yao Pang (Hong Kong)0:03:49.559
13Minami Uwano (Japan)0:03:49.788
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Women Team Sprint Qualifying
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1China0:00:32.428
Jinjie Gong (China)
Tianshi Zhong (China)
2Russia0:00:32.560
Daria Shmeleva (Russian Federation)
Anastasiia Voinova (Russian Federation)
3Germany0:00:32.808
Kristina Vogel (Germany)
Miriam Welte (Germany)
4Australia0:00:32.820
Anna Meares (Australia)
Stephanie Morton (Australia)
5Great Britain0:00:32.903
Katy Marchant (Great Britain)
Jessica Varnish (Great Britain)
6Netherlands0:00:33.133
Elis Ligtlee (Netherlands)
Laurine Van Riessen (Netherlands)
7France0:00:33.258
Sandie Clair (France)
Virginie Cueff (France)
8Spain0:00:33.455
Tania Calvo Barbero (Spain)
Helena Casas Roige (Spain)
9Canada0:00:33.867
Kate O'Brien (Canada)
Monique Sullivan (Canada)
10New Zealand0:00:33.932
Natasha Hansen (New Zealand)
Olivia Podmore (New Zealand)
11Colombia0:00:34.171
Martha Bayona Pineda (Colombia)
Juliana Gaviria Rendon (Colombia)
12Mexico0:00:34.236
Daniela Gaxiola Gonzalez Luz (Mexico)
Jessica Salazar Valles (Mexico)
13Ukraine0:00:34.300
Liubov Basova (Ukraine)
Olena Starikova (Ukraine)
14Japan0:00:34.721
Takako Ishii (Japan)
Kayono Maeda (Japan)
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Men's Team Sprint Qualifying
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1New Zealand0:00:43.096
Edward Dawkins (New Zealand)
Ethan Mitchell (New Zealand)
Sam Webster (New Zealand)
2Netherlands0:00:43.266
Hugo Haak (Netherlands)
Jeffrey Hoogland (Netherlands)
Nils Van 'T Hoenderdaal (Netherlands)
3France0:00:43.487
Gregory Bauge (France)
Michael D'Almeida (France)
Kevin Sireau (France)
4Germany0:00:43.496
Joachim Eilers (Germany)
Rene Enders (Germany)
Max Niederlag (Germany)
5Australia0:00:43.497
Patrick Constable (Australia)
Matthew Glaetzer (Australia)
Nathan Hart (Australia)
6Great Britain0:00:43.507
Philip Hindes (Great Britain)
Jason Kenny (Great Britain)
Callum Skinner (Great Britain)
7Russia0:00:43.538
Denis Dmitriev (Russian Federation)
Nikita Shurshin (Russian Federation)
Pavel Yakushevskiy (Russian Federation)
8Poland0:00:43.751
Grzegorz Drejgier (Poland)
Krzysztof Maksel (Poland)
Rafal Sarnecki (Poland)
9China0:00:44.496
Saifei Bao (China)
Ke Hu (China)
Chao Xu (China)
10Venezuela0:00:44.654
Hersony Canelon (Venezuela)
Cesar Marcano (Venezuela)
Angel Pulgar (Venezuela)
11Korea0:00:44.767
Chaebin Im (Korea)
Dong Jin Kang (Korea)
Jeyong Son (Korea)
12Japan0:00:44.960
Kazuki Amagai (Japan)
Seiichiro Nakagawa (Japan)
Kazunari Watanabe (Japan)
13Spain0:00:45.013
Sergio Aliaga Chivite (Spain)
Jose Moreno Sanchez (Spain)
Juan Peralta Gascon (Spain)
14Brazil0:00:45.557
Flavio Cipriano (Brazil)