2011 European Track Championships (Elite)


Three Gold medals for Team GB on the first evening of the European Championships as they win the Men’s and Women’s Team Pursuit as well as the Women’s Team Sprint.

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European Track Championships Day 1

There was drama during the evening session of the European Track Championships when on a night of time trials, one of the starting gates malfunctioned. After the debacle in the morning session when the Men’s GB Team Sprint were hampered by Jason Kenny slipping on the track, the lead rider for the German Women’s Team Pursuit found herself stuck in the starting gate twice before officials decided to abandon the gates and go to a hand held method of releasing the riders. This was probably fine for the Team Pursuit but less so in the Team Sprint where the times between teams are much closer and the start more important and explosive.

Jason Kenny leads the GB team off followed by Sir Chris Hoy and Matt Crampton. Luck deserted the trio and after a slip at the start, they just failed to make the top four and a get another chance at the medals.

Overall however, it was a great night for Team GB. Not only have they won as many Golds in one night as they won in last year’s European Championships, the times they produced were faster than those recorded on the same track in March at the World Championships. Even the failure to make the Team Sprint finals (Mens) was not the disaster it could have been. Great Britain sprint coach, Jan van Eijden, told the BBC “We’re not going to blame anyone. Jason Kenny slipped on his second down-stroke. The back wheel slipped but there’s nothing we can do now except go home, review the procedure and hopefully do better.”

A check of the Olympic rankings for Nations shows that prior to the Euros, GB was in second place (for Team Sprint) which as van Eijden says, means that GB is ahead of where they need to be for Olympic qualification. Talking to a GB member of staff last week, it was said that it’s crucial they finish in the top four teams in Europe and they are currently second in the World rankings. “We lose a few points” says van Eijden “but it’s nothing to worry about,” he said.

Overall, it was a near perfect start for the team with plenty of opportunity for more medals to come in the next two days.

Evening Session

There was Gold for Team GB’s Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell as they demolished the challenge from Germany on their way to a very quick time of 3.22.618 in the Gold medal final. Starting without the aid of a gate after the two attempts by Germany to get away from the line were thwarted by a duff gate, the Brits were up on the German trio from the word go.

The GB trio were just under a second faster for the first kilo, two seconds faster over the second kilo and then almost four seconds faster for the final kilometre to come away easy winners. The Bronze medal final between Belarus and Ukraine saw the final medal go to Belarus with injury added to insult when one of the Ukraine girls crashed approaching the line for the time after a touch of wheels and had to be stretchered away.

1. Great Britain 3.22.618
(Dani King, Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell)

2. Germany 3.29.596
3. Belarus 3.26.864
4. Ukraine (DNF)

Men’s Team Pursuit, Gold for GB as they beat Denmark and Russia get the Bronze.

Great Britain won their second Gold of the night when the foursome of Andy Tennant, Ed Clancy, Pete Kennaugh and Steven Burke defeated the Danish team with a show of well disciplined Team Pursuiting. The teams came out sprinting from the start line where they were all hand held due to problems with the starting gates and Ed Clancy did an opening lap of 20 seconds which is dam rapid but still GB were down on the Danes after the first kilometre.

Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Andy Tennant and Peter Kennaugh race to a Gold medal in Appeldorn on day 1 just as they did in 2010 with a line up that included Jason Queally.

The Danish team however, leading by a hundreth of a second or so for five laps could not keep it up and soon exploded, going down to three riders as well as losing fourth tenths of a second in a lap. The GB foursome from there on just turned the screws on the Danes and the gap continued to open up all the way to the line where GB were comfortable winners with a four minute dead 4,000 metres, way quicker than their times in March at the Worlds but still three seconds down on the Aussie time there in Holland.

Great Britain
1. Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Peter Kennaugh and Andy Tennant 4.00.008
(1.03 first K, (2nd), 58.577 second K (1st), 58.5771 (1st), 59.04 final K (1st)

2. Denmark 4.06.788
(1.03 first K (1st), 58.9, 1.00.8, 1.03.2)

Bronze medal final
It was an easy win for a well drilled Russian team who defeated Spain who went down to three men a long way from the finish as they tried to match the pace of their rivals. That hurt the Spanish and in the closing laps, the Russian coach, Heiko Salzwedel was urging his riders to go for the catch. That was never made but the win by Russia was certainly an easy one even though their time was still a long way short of  the one from the Brits.

3. Russia 4.04.508
4. Spain 4.10.153

Women’s Team Sprint

Jess Varnish, after a brilliant first lap sub 19 seconds, swings up and Olympic Champion Victoria Pendleton takes over the race for the Gold medal won by the Brits.

The third Gold medal came from the duo from Great Britain, Olympic Champion Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish. The two had ridden to a Silver medal at the Worlds earlier this year on the same track but this time round, they swamped that for a Gold in a time only a few hundredths slower than the one by the Australians (33.237) had been on this track in March.

An opening lap of 18.957 for Jess Varnish from the hand held start gave them a flying start and Pendleton was her usual brilliant self to finish it off and bring home the Gold medal to Great Britain with the Silver going to the Ukraine. In the Bronze medal final, with national team coaches holding up the riders at the start, there was a hint of the riders being pushed away and while Russia got a flying start, it was the German team who came back to win the Bronze medal.

1. Great Britain (Jess Varnish/Victoria Pendleton) 33.276
2. Ukraine (Shulika/Tsos) 33.786
3. Germany, (Vogel/Welte) 33.678
4. Russia (Baranova/Voynova) 33.820

Women’s Points Race
After winning Gold in the Women’s Team Pursuit, Dani King saddled up for the non-Olympic event, the Women’s Points Race over 25 kilometres with sprints every ten laps. With attacks coming all the time, it was a very aggressive race with the average speed at the end 43kph but it was too fast for anybody to gain a lap.

Instead, the race was decided in the sprints and they were dominated by Evgeniya Romanyuta of Russia who finished with 19 points, five points clear of second placed, Katarzyna Pawlowska (Poland).

Third in the race went to Jarmila Machacova (Cze) who was very aggressive over the closing laps, going clear on her own to win five points in one of the latter sprints before coming round for the final sprint and just managing to get her wheel over the line first and take her points total to 13, just one shy of the Silver medal.

Aksana Papko, riding a British designed Dolan bike, was fourth after being in third for much of the race while Britain’s Dani King was 9th after an aggressive race where she certainly had plenty of digs to gain points but each time she was swamped in the sprint and ended up picking up the odd point here and there to finish on five points.

1. ROMANYUTA Evgeniya RUS 19
2. PAWLOWSKA Katarzyna POL 14
3. MACHACOVA Jarmila CZE 13
4. PAPKO Aksana BLR 10
5. SANDIG Madeleine GER 8
6. WOLFER Andrea 7
8. DRUYTS Kelly BEL 5
9. KING Danielle GBR 5
10. POLSPOEL Maaike BEL 5
11. CECCHINI Elena ITA 3
12. VAN DER KAMP Laura NED 3
13. PAVLENDOVA Alzbeta SVK 2
17. POHL Stephanie GER 1
18. SOSENKO Aleksandra LTU
20. DYLKO Alena BLR
21. SCANDOLARA Valentina ITA
22. BUJAK Eugenia POL

Men’s Team Sprint

With the riders being hand held, there was a hint of farce about this final but it was all Germany in the rode off for Gold with veteran sprinter Stefan Nimke sprinting round for the third lap and clinching the Gold medal for Germany ahead of France.

1. Germany (Enders/Forstemann/Nimke) 44.022
2. France (Bourgain/Pervis/Sireau) 44.415
3. Poland 44.809,
4. Holland 44.900

Men’s Points Race
1. RATAJCZYK Rafal POL 43 1 18
2. DILLIER Silvan SUI 39 1 1
3. KADLEC Milan CZE 36 1 5
4. MORA VEDRI Sebastian ESP 30 1 12
5. GRAF Andreas AUT 26 1 4
6. RADIONOV Mykhaylo UKR 24 1 3
7. SAVITSKIY Ivan RUS 13 0 9
8. TAMOURIDIS Ioannis GRE 12 0 6
9. CICCONE Angelo ITA 12 0 16
10. KALZ Marcel GER 11 0 13
12. LISS Lucas GER 7 0 2
13. MÃœLLER Andreas AUT 6 0 8
14. O’LOUGHLIN David IRL 5 0 11
15. LABEQUE Kevin FRA 4 0 10
16. STACHOWIAK Adam POL 4 0 15
17. HAAN Wouter NED 4 0 17
18. PERIZZOLO Loic SUI 1 0 7

Morning Session
The morning session on day one of the European Track Championships saw a shock exit from the Team Sprint qualification for Great Britain when they qualified fifth fastest and as such, would not get a ride in the finals later this evening.

According to those watching it live, Jason Kenny had trouble with wheel spin in the starting gate and although there was an appeal, it was rejected and the result stood. It was a shock more because it is probably the first time in quite a while that a GB team has not qualified for a medal ride in the Team Sprint and also means Jason Queally who may have got a ride in the final, will now go home without having had a ride at all.

Speaking about the event on his Facebook page, Sir Chris explained “Frustrating start to the Championships in the team sprint; Jason slipped as he pulled away from the line, I clearly overtook him to trigger a false start but the officials didn’t fire the gun so we had to continue.”

“We were 0.6 down on the fastest team overall after half a lap & pulled it back to 0.3 by then end, but it was only good enough for 5th, so no medal ride-off tonight. On the plus side my lap was quick so all I can do is focus on tomorrow. And well done to the men’s TP, women’s TP and TS qualifying 1st. 3 Golds tonight hopefully.” What isn’t clear and certainly conflicting stories abound, is whether it was the starting gate or the timing strip that caused the wheel slippage to Jason Kenny.Or, a dirty track or slippery lines painted onto the track. The slippery nature of the boards was enough to have Victoria Pendleton change to grippier tyres for her final in the Women’s Team Sprint.

What ever the cause, and the timing tape was said to have been changed afterwards but according to reports, the video evidence is inconclusive, the team have lost Olympic qualifying points and but they are planning to send a team to the first World Cup, without Sir Chris Hoy in it (he’s racing solo for Sky we understand)  and perhaps in Astana they can recover some of the ground they lost in Holland.

That result for the Men’s Team Sprint was in sharp contrast to the other qualifying rounds where Great Britain was fastest in the Women’s Team Pursuit and Team Sprint and also fastest in the Men’s Team Pursuit. And not just fastest but significantly faster than their rivals which all being well, could mean three Gold medals for Team GB tonight and that will be a fantastic start for them. The interesting thing about the qualifying rides is that both the Men and Women’s Team Pursuit were quicker than the times they did in Holland for the Worlds. Whether that was down to the weather conditions or the condition of the riders is yet to be confirmed but there does seem no doubt that both teams are riding faster than were in March for the Track Worlds.

Related Link: BBC’s Preview of the event and Shane Sutton Interview


Women’s Team  Sprint (500 metres)

1. Great Britain 33.559
(Victoria Pendleton/Jess Varnish) will meet Ukraine 33.849 in the final for Gold
2. Ukraine 33.849

3. Russia 33.884
4. Germany 33.973

5. Holland 34.507
6. France 34.553
7. Spain 34.656
8. Lithunia 35.055
9. Greece 35.851
10. Italy 36.168
11. Poland 36.325

* GB at the Track Worlds on the same track, same riders, did 33.525

Men’s Team Pursuit (4,000 metres)

1. Great Britain 4:01.475 *
(Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke, Ed Clancy and Peter Kennaugh)
2. Denmark 4.05.18
3. Spain 4.06.516
4. Russia 4.07.170
5. Holland 4.07.932
6. Ukraine 4.09.652
7. Belgium 4.10.122
8. Germany  4.11.198
9. France 4.11.438
10. Poland 4.11.679
11. Czech Republic 4.12.296
12. Switzerland 4.12.591
13. Italy 4.15.280

* GB’s times at the last track Worlds 4.02.784/4.02.781. GB’s splits for each kilo in qualifying were 1.03.629, 58.292, 58.568 and 1.00.986 (4:01.475).

Womens Team Pursuit

1. Great Britain 3.22.414 *
(Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell and Dani King)

2. Germany 3.26.7
3. Belarus 3.26.8,
4. Ukraine 3.28.763
5. Holland 3.30.495
6. Belgium 3.31.988
7. Ireland 3.32.821
8. Poland 3.33.030
9. Lithunia 3.33.726
10. Spain 3.36.474
11. Russia 3.36.607
12. Italy 3.37.400

The time by GB is faster than the 3:23.419 they did to win the World title on the same track earlier this year.  The GB Women’s TP splits for each kilo were 1.09.750, 1.05.315, 1.07.349

Men’s Team Sprint

1. France 44.636
2. Germany 44.663
3. Poland 44.718
4. Holland 44.816
5. Great Britain 44.933
(Jason Kenny, Chris Hoy, Matt Crampton) *

6. Russia 45.090
7. Spain 45.541
8. Czech Republic 46.064
9. Ukraine 46.317
10. Hungary 50.088

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