Episode four of Back on Track sees UCI Track Champions League Endurance Champion Gavin Hoover, one of the two American riders in the series, reflect on what drew him to the sport. “They had the UCI World Championships in Los Angeles in 2006. At 9 I went to watch and I was like ‘this is what I want to do’”.
The latest episode, set to air on Monday 25 April, heads to Anadia, Portugal, to interview the 24 year old who went into the league as an underdog. With the biggest win of his career within arm’s reach, Hoover discusses the cycling idols that inspired him: “I think everyone my age in the US was looking at Lance, but for me, I was looking at Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara. On the track, it was guys like Joan Llaneras, who was just dominant when I was watching it.”
Episode four begins at the Lee Valley Velodrome, London - home of track cycling at the 2012 Olympic Games. The venue is set to host two back-to-back rounds of the league, making for a thrilling finale. For many riders, it will be the last race of their careers. Ed Clancy, three-time Team Pursuit Olympic gold medalist, looks back with fond memories on racing at the velodrome as he takes to the track one last time. “Every time I walk into this building, I feel starstruck by the place. I get flashbacks. It’s certainly a special place.” says Clancy.
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Also retiring are fellow veterans and multiple UCI World Champions Annette Edmondson and Kirsten Wild - both of whom are aiming to topple Women’s Endurance League leader Katie Archibald at her home venue.
In the Men’s Endurance category, the three-way battle between Sebastián Mora, Corbin Strong and Gavin Hoover heats up as one of the trio loses ground in a dramatic Elimination race.
Among the interviewees in episode four is Germany’s Stefan Bötticher, key rival to Men’s Sprint League leader Harrie Lavreysen. Bötticher discusses his love for speed - be it on the boards of the track or behind the wheel of a car on a German autobahn - and sheds light on the innovative ‘neuro-athletics’ practices that give him a competitive edge. “I had a bad crash, I fell on my head and had a concussion. [Afterwards], I had some problems activating my muscles. I use a new system from the USA, it’s eye training with different colored balls, different head movements. Djokovic does a lot of work with this too.” says Bötticher.
Meanwhile, his compatriots and fellow sprinters Emma Hinze and Lea Sophie Friedrich continue their intense rivalry on the track as the series reaches its penultimate episode. A 65km/h collision transforms the league standings, leaving just one point between the two ahead of the fourth and final round.
The fourth episode of the series will be broadcast on the Eurosport App and GCN+ on April 25 and is available on discovery+
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