Report: Day 4 Paracycling Worlds


Great Britain’s paracyclists continue to win Gold at the World Track Championships in Italy

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Report: Day 4 Paracycling Worlds

By Jennifer Bennett

Day 4 of Track World Championships was one for lovers of all things speed. The morning session would comprise of the men’s and women’s tandem Sprint qualifing rounds followed by the Team Sprint qualifier and finishing with the 4-5 Scratch race.

It would be a day that would see Great Britain well represented on and off the track with a large cheering section in the stands. They would certainly not be disappointed.

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Team Sprint qualifying saw an early very fast time set by China that would stand until the last pairing of GB’s Louis Rolfe, John Allen Butterworth and Jody Cundy took the top spot with a time of 50.188. GB would race China for Gold and Spain would race the USA for Bronze.

Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott would be looking to defend their title in the sprints and qualified posting a time of 11.146 putting them in 2nd place behind Netherlands. The top 8 teams moved on to the quarter finals.

Neil Fache and Pete Mitchell were also looking to defend their titles and in doing so almost broke their own World Record posting a time of 9.97 putting them in 1st. Although the 2nd GB men’s tandem is relatively new to World Championship racing as a pair under the guidance of pilot Craig MacLean, their trajectory of development has been almost as quick as their times on the track. They would easily qualify for the quarter finals with a time of 10.295 placing them third behind Neil Fache amd Pete Mitchell and Netherlands in 2nd.

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There would be no slow down in the action with the proceedings moving straight into the quarter finals. The days schedule seemed as reluctant as the sprinters efforts Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott drew Russia and won the heats decisively 2-0. This scenario would be repeated by the two GB mens tandems who also beat their competitor’s 2-0. Neil Fache and Pete Mitchell against Australia and Craig MacLean and James Ball against the Netherlands.

With a break in the sprint action, the 60 lap C4-5 Scratch race took place just before the afternoon break and the team would be well represented with Jon Gildea and Jaco Van Gass earning their spot by qualifying last night.

Jaco Van Gass took his place in the front 5 or 6 constantly monitoring any efforts off the front. With the help of Van Gass, Gildea was able to get away and take a lap about mid way through the race. A few laps later Van Gass would do the same. Several attempts by riders to get away were brought back quickly and Gildea soon had opportunity to join a small break attempt taking another lap.

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With 7 laps to go there were 4 riders with a 2 lap advantage. With a teammate to help control the front Gildea could focus on the final finish. No riders gained additional laps and Jon finished just behind Australia’s Kyle Bridgewood and in front of Australia’s Allistar Donohoe. A brilliant ride for Jon rewarded by a silver medal and a very well executed display of teamwork.

The mid day break was certainly needed as the sprinters had quite a bit of unfinished business to do before the day would come to a close. Sprint semi finals would greet the riders as they returned to racing. Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott beat Klaasen &Dolman (NED) the Kilo World Champions 2-1 moving on to the finals.

An all Britiish quarter final had Neil Fache and Pete Mitchell against James Ball and Craig MacLean. Fache and Mitchell won the heats 2-0. The finals were set as Thornhill and Scott would defend their title against Australia. Fache and Mitchell would defend their title against Bangma and Mulder (NED) and Ball and MacLean would face Spain for bronze.

Before the tandem Sprint final, the Team Sprint medal final took place. The team of Louis Rolfe, John Allen Butterworth and Jody Cundy not only won the Gold medal but also broke the World Record with a time of 49.230. China with the silver and Spain for the Bronze.

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This is a World Championships debut for Rolfe and he heads home with a World Record, Gold and Bronze medal. Very promising future ahead for the young speedster.

Last serving of the day would be the tandem sprint finals. First up in the Gold medal final was Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott who would succumb to the speed of the Australians 2-0. A repeat championship would not happen for the girls bearing the same result as they had a day earlier in the Kilo.

Next up the Mens finals with James Ball and Craig MacLean putting MacLeans depth of knowledge to work against a cunning Spainish pair. Ball and MacLean won the final 2-0 securing the Bronze medal.

The final race of the World Championships would be the gold medal sprint final between Neil Fache and Pete Mitchell and Bangma/Mulder of Netherlands. The first 3 laps would almost come to a crawl as the tactics played out before the pedals began to turn at a quicker pace as the bell lap rang. The team’s were neck in neck around turn 4 with Fache and Mitchell winning 2-0 defending their title and another gold medal to add to their palmares.

As the World Championships came to a close Great Britain sat on top of the medal table with 8 Gold, 6 Silver and 4 Bronze. With the last track event before Rio behind there eyes turn forward six months to Rio and more medals to be won.






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