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UCI Track Champions League

03:52:30

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Stay tuned to live comments from Nick Christian from 17:00 GMT on Saturday

Overall standings…

UCI Track Champions League
Highlights, Round 4: First champions crowned after London thriller
YESTERDAY AT 17:36
Well, that was quite a night of racing, wasn’t it? I’d say it more than lived up to expectations, with the biggest riders in the world showing up, and more than turning up ready to race. No punches were pulled, no-one went down easy.
This is only night one though, remember, and it’s a league format, so let’s take a look at the standings in all four competitions:
Men’s sprint:
Harrie Lavreysen - 37 points
Stefan Botticher - 33 points
Jeffrey Hoogland - 30 points
Women’s sprint:
Emma Hinze - 37 points
Kelsey Mitchell - 35 points
Lea Friedrich - 30 points
Men’s endurance:
Corbin Strong - 40 points
Iuri Leitao - 28 points
Gavin Hoover - 27 points
Women’s endurance:
Katie Archibald - 33 points
Maggie Coles-Lyster - 30 points
Olivija Baleisyte - 28 points

Women’s Sprint Final - Emma Hinze wins!

Emma Hinze v Lea Friedrich
The last event of the evening is an all-Germany sprint final, featuring the riders who currently hold all the rainbow sprint jerseys between them. Friends, team-mates, but for two and a half laps, the steeliest of rivals.
Hinze forces Friedrich to go first, going high herself and darting down to carry as much speed as possible. Although the World sprint champion can’t quite get underneath Friedrich, she has enough momentum and can turn the pedals fast enough to push past her just before the line. Not an easy win, but a clear one.

Men’s Keirin Final - Stefan Botticher wins!

Our six finalists are… Stefan Botticher, Jeffrey Hoogland, Harrie Lavreysen, Kento Yamasaki, Nicholas Paul, Hugo Barrette.
The Dutch pair might be the big favourites, but given how much of a meal both made of their heats, there are no foregone conclusions here.
The race is very strung out as the derny drifts off. Hoogland leads at the bell, but must have spent too long on the front, because Stefan Botticher claws his way round him. The World Champion, Harrie Lavreysen, in the rainbow stripes, flies past his team-mate but can’t beat the German rider. Second place for Lavreysen is enough for the Dutchman to win the sprint competition overall and take the leader's jersey into the next round in Lithuania.
One more race to go tonight.

Men’s Elimination Race - Corbin Strong wins!

AKA The Devil part II. (Because the elimination race is also known as the Devil takes the hindmost)
I need a moment’s breather, so I’m not going to document every rider out of this one. It’s been seriously hectic tonight!
Again, no-one wants to be first out, but someone has to be, and it’s Swiss roller, Claudio Imhof. One of the overall favourites, that’ll annoy him. Ed Clancy gets himself out of trouble twice in a row, pushing past Imhof and Belgian Hesters. The Britain can’t save himself a third time, though. Third rider to go out. Fourth out is Rhys Britton, so no more British interest in this race.
The eighth rider eliminated is the Israeli, Rotem Tene, who did well to get that far, you’d say. They all look exhausted, these riders, which surely accounts for the big names getting knocked out so early.
Seven riders become six with Roy Eefting of the Netherland’s knock-out. He loses contact long before the line, completely empty.
The final four are Strong, Mora, Hoover and Leitao. Of those, the one to lose out is the young Portugese rider. The American, who just gets edged. Gavin Hoover, is going very well indeed, and after looking out of it, he comes back so strong to push Mora out of the race.
In the head-to-head, Corbin Strong lives up to his name. That’s the second win of the night from the New Zealander, dominating the endurance competition.

Women’s Sprint - Semi-finals

Heat 1 of 2: Emma Hinze, Lauriane Genest, Shanne Braspenninck.
Despite being squeezed into the middle by the bell, Hinze turns it on and forces her way through to take the victory. Lauriane Genest, high up the track, does her best to bring the German back but she doesn’t have the legs. The World Champion shows why she’s wearing the rainbows.
Heat 2 of 2: Kelsey Mitchell, Lea Friedrich, Olena Starikova.
Lea Friedrich marches on. She positions herself well at the bottom of the track to give herself the shortest way round. After starting out behind, the Olympic champion manages to get back on terms, but can’t quite pull ahead.
We have an all-German final: Hinze v Friedrich.

Men’s Keirin - Round 1

Heat 1 of 3: Mateusz Rudyk, Vasilijus Lendel, Harrie Lavreysen, Rayan Helal, Denis Dmitriev, Stefan Botticher.
World Champion Harrie Lavreysen is the clear favourite here, but he very almost gets caught out. The German, Botticher, launches a long one and Lavreysen leaves it far too late to put down the power. He only just squeaks through, with France’s Helal very hot on his heels. 75kph max speed there. Whoosh.
Heat 2 of 3: Kento Yamasaki, Jai Angutha Sawait, Jordan Castle, Kevin Santiago Quintero Chavarro, Max Levy, Jeffrey Hoogland.
Another example of the Dutch caught complacent. Yamasaki wins the race with Hoogland only just saving face in second.
Heat 3 of 3: Hugo Barrette, Jean Spies, Nicholas Paul, Mikhail Iakolev, Tom Derache, Jair Tjon En Fa.
Iakovlev the favourite here, having come second in the sprint competition. Nicholas Paul of Trinidad hit out predictably hard. He makes no effort to hide his intentions, but there’s knowing what he’s going to do, and stopping him from doing it. No-one can come round him, as he holds on to go through in first place. Hugo Barrette of Canada is a surprise second rider through, while Iakolev crosses the line in last place. That sprint competition must have taken a lot out of him.

‘She was on Mars!’ – Mitchell roars from last to first in keirin

‘She was on Mars!’ – Mitchell roars from last to first in keirin

Women’s Elimination Race - Katie Archibald wins!

If you don’t find the elimination race to be the most exciting event in pretty much all of cycling, then I’m sorry but we can’t be friends. Tactically fascinating, and painfully punishing on the riders. It’s simple enough to understand at its basic level: We start with a full complement of riders, and the last across the line every other lap gets eliminated. When there’s only two riders left, they go heads-up, and the first rider across the line wins.
No-one wants to be first out of the first elimination race of the Champions League, but someone has to be, and it’s the USA’s Kendall Ryan who is caught napping. Emily Kay of Ireland is next, boxed in at the bottom, before Karolina Karasiewicz of Poland is boxed in and knocked out.
The field is thinned out fast. Next up to be eliminated is Japan’s Yumi Kajihara, squeezed, and out, from the middle of the pack. Spain’s Eukene Larrete finds herself in a similar spot, Bacikova rides her luck for one lap too many, and then it’s Tania Calvo, the second Spaniard to go. Switzerland’s Michelle Andres has no room at the bottom of the track - an early exit for her, but a good result for Hanna Tserakh of Belarus who goes no further. Getting to the pointy end, it’s Maria Martins out next, as Lithuania makes a great escape, followed by Silvia Zanardi, despite the Italian looking in good shape at the bell. Next out is scratch race winner, Maggie Coles-Lyster, from the very bottom of the track. That’s just not where a rider want to be.
Down to five riders, Lithuania’s Baleistye, is going no further, beaten - just by Kirsten Wild. Australia’s Annette Edmondson knows she’s out before she’s out, and we’re down to three. The rider who won’t be in the heads-up is Stenberg of Norway, making it an Archibald v Wild final.
Katie Archibald leaves nothing to chance, kicking Wild to the blue right on the bell. Wild knows she’s beaten and doesn’t bother to chase. Archibald didn’t get a single mention from our commentators before the final lap, which will tell you how strongly she raced.
That puts Archibald top of the endurance league table, with 33 points. Coles-Lyster is in second on 30 points.

Women's sprint - Round 1

Heat one is Emma Hinze, Daria Shmeleva, and Laurine van Riessen.
Hinze is the favourite and the German runs away with it by four or five lengths. She’s wearing rainbows for a reason. Although she leads out, Van Riessen is never in contention but great to see the Dutch woman back riding after her horror crash in Tokyo.
Heat two sees Germany’s Lea Friedrich up against Anastasiia Voinova of Russia and Mina Sato of Japan. Three very strong riders, all with impressive recent results, and it’s reflected in the respect they show for each other in the race. Eyes on their rivals, but mainly on the prize, and it’s Friedrich who launches early. It’s a clever move, and proves to be a winning one.
Heat three is our earlier keirin winner Kelsey Mitchell (Canada), against Sophie Capewell (Great Britain), and Yana Tyshchenko (Russia). What can Capewell and Tyshenko do to beat Kelsey Mitchell? They seem to work together, with the Russian going very very long, while Capewell marks the favourite. Mitchell is tested but she passes the test, coming through to take the win just before the line. Nothing either could really do there.
Heat four: Simoma Krupeckaite, Lauriane Genest, and Riyu Ohta. The hardest one to call so far, but with Genest relegated in the keirin, you’d reckon she’d want to make amends in the sprint. Ohta makes a mistake opening the door to the Canadian just before the bell, who cruises through to the semis. The Lithuanian finishes second, but there are no prizes for runners up in this game.
Two races to go in this round. Heat five sees Olena Starikova of Ukraine, Mathilde Gros of France, and Martha Bayona Pineda. Starikova, the Olympic silver medalist in Tokyo, starts as favourite in this heat, and has the legs to go long. She takes to the front with well over a lap to go and stays there. Never in doubt, that one.
For the final heat we have Shanne Braspenninck (Netherlands), Miriam Vece (Italy) and Yuli Paola Verdugo Osuna (Mexico). The Dutchwoman, the Olympic keirin champion, is a solid favourite and hits the front early, well before the bell. Vece does her best to get on terms but Braspenninck takes it by a wheel and barely looks out of breath.
Through to the semis: Hinze, Friedrich, Mitchell, Genest, Starikova, and Braspenninck.

Men’s Sprint Final - Harrie Lavreysen wins!

We’re down to two, in the traditional format, and it’s Netherlands Harrie Lavreysen vs Russian Mikhail Iakolev. You think Iakolev would have to go long to stand a chance, and so he does. Lavreysen never lets him get much of a gap, though, swinging down the track to land on his wheel, before smashing Iakolev out of the way. The race is over with almost half a lap to spare.

Men’s Scratch Race - New Zealand's Corbin Strong wins!

The men’s scratch brings us the first sightings of the men’s endurance riders. Twenty laps of racing, and an evenly matched field, making it very difficult to predict the outcome. Some experienced riders here, but also plenty of promise among the riders.
It’s a very fast race, but no-one wants to spend too long on the front. The first real attack is from Claudio Imhof halfway through the race. Spaniard Sebastian Mora goes in hot pursuit and a quartet of riders is formed, but unlike in the women’s race, it’s not given the room to go the distance.
Into the final two laps the race is together, but at the bell Iuri Leitao launches a bold do or die effort. Sadly for him, he can’t quite hang on. Corbin Strong, leaving it late, passes him just before the line, while Britain’s Rhys Britton nudges the Portugese rider into third.

From the velodrome to your screens...

Rudyk wins dramatic sprint in first-ever UCI Track Champions League race

Women’s Keirin Final - Kelsey Mitchell wins!

Emma Hinze, Miriam Vece, Kelsey Mitchell, Martha Bayona Pineda, Mathilde Grose.
Wow! Another big win for Canada on the board. For much of that it looked like the German pair were going to deliver a white-wash but Kelsey Mitchell smashes her way past on the final lap, as far up the track as she could possibly be. Her legs must have been absolutely screaming at the finish. Average speed of 62.959kph.

Men’s Sprint - Semi-finals

In SF1, it’s Harrie Lavreysen vs Nicholas Paul vs Mateusz Rudyk. Paul pushes the Dutch champ as hard as he can, certainly makes it harder for him than his first heat, but Lavreysen still manages to sail through.
For SF2 we have Jeffrey Hoogland, Stefan Botticher, and Mikhail Iakolev. Hoogland the favourite, naturally, but it’s expected to be the closest race so far. Hoogland rides on the outside before slipping to last place at the bell, leaving it too late to come round. It’s close, but the young Russian springs a surprise. Clever racing from Iakolev, making Hoogland come the long way round. Not the final we'd expected, by any means.

Women’s Scratch Race - Maggie Coles-Lyster wins!

Endurance time! Twenty laps of the track for a total of 5km of racing. Far shorter than these riders will be used to but long enough for their legs to feel it, that’s for sure.
There’s an early split in the field, before the bunch comes back together, at which point Canada and Belarus take the initiative to launch themselves off the front. They’re joined by Lithuania, while the rest watch each other, all asking someone else to bring the trio back. No-one wants to do too much. With five laps to go the three have over half a lap’s lead and not much appetite behind to chase them down.
Katie Archibald goes in pursuit with two laps left but it’s too little, too late. Canada’s Maggie Coles-Lyster steals it.

'What a steal!' - Coles-Lyster takes upset victory in scratch race

Women’s Keirin - Round 1

Our second event of the evening is many people’s favourite act on the boards: the keirin. Six women per round, taken up to speed by the derny bike, before being unleashed after three laps. Top two go through.
Lea Friedrich is the clear winner of heat one. The German rider decided attack was the best form of defence and she was comfortable by the line. It was much closer for the second, spot but it goes to Roubaix Worlds silver medalist, Martha Bayona Pineda, after Canada’s Lauriane Genest is relegated for an infraction.
A furious start to heat two takes Mathilde Gros of France and Italy’s Miriam Vece out-muscle the four others.
In heat three we have Kelsey Mitchell, Anastasiia Voinova, Yana Tyshchenko, Emma Hinze, Riyu Ohta, Laurine Van Riessen. Mitchell, Olympic champion in the sprint, was the strong favourite, and she leads through all three laps. Germany’s Emma Hinze comes over the top to nip second place.

Men’s sprint - Round 1

The first of three rounds of sprinting is underway. Unlike the version of this event you may have seen at the Olympics or elsewhere, this new format will see three riders going up against each other in the first round, which makes the tactics very different. Only one rider through from each of these six heats.
Our opening bout is Rayan Helal, Denis Dmitriev and Mateusz Rudyk. Helal went very early, leading out from lap two, and nearly hangs on, but it’s Rudyk who goes through, overtaking him on the line.
Heat two sees Jair Tjon En Fa and Mikhail Iakovlev, going up against each other. Iakovlev was the favourite and rode like it. It's do or die and he does.
For heat three we have Max Levy, Nicholas Paul and Kento Yamasaki. It's a cagey start but Nicholas Paul of Trinidad and Tobago, leading it out, never looked like he'd be beaten.
In heat four we watch Kevin Quinterro Chavaro, Stefan Botticher and Jean Spies ride off against each other. Quinterro Charavo sits on Botticher's wheel for as long as he can but possibly leaves it too late. Botticher goes through.
Heat five: Jeffrey Hoogland, Jordan Castle and Lithuania's Vasilijus Lendel. Hoogland a mighty favourite could probably afford to leave something in the bank against these two. "He's so in control of his own destiny," says Carlton Kirby. It's as easy for Hoogland as we'd expected, who does what he needs to, and nothing more. Straight through.
Will Hoogland's fellow countryman, Harrie Lavreysen find it as easy in heat six? Up against France's Tom Derache and Hugo Barrete of Canada, the World and Olympic Champion, Lavreysen seems to toy with the other two before swinging down the track, going through them from like a hot knife through butter.

And that's round 1!

Who are ya?

We’re not exaggerating when we tell you this event has attracted the biggest names in track cycling. I tried to add up the number of Olympic medals and rainbow jerseys won by the competitors but far too rapidly ran out of fingers.
The sprint side is especially stacked, with Olympic gold medalists galore: To pick out a few names, there’s Tokyo 2020 women’s sprint champion Kelsey Mitchell who takes the stage in the colours of Canada, and the Netherlands’ Shanne Braspennincx, who won the women’s keirin; on the men’s side we have the top two titans of track, Jeffrey Hoogland and Harrie Lavreysen, also in the orange of the Netherlands. The pair took home silver and gold medals in the individual sprint respectively, as well as leading the Dutch to a dominant victory in the team sprint.
The biggest endurance names are both British: double Olympic gold medalist, Katie Archibald, and three time Olympic team pursuit champion, Ed Clancy. Can Clancy close out his career with a bang? As well as the vets, as Sir Chris Hoy just told TV audiences, there are some very promising young names on the bill as well. Look out for 23 year-old Iúri Leitão of Portugal, who claimed a silver medal in the recent World Championships in Roubaix, and Belgium's Tuur Dens, who won a silver in the men's scratch competition, at the age of just 21. Silver medalist in the omnium at Tokyo 2020, Japan's Yumi Kajihara, is at at 24 years old is a very exciting all-round prospect as well.

Tonight's riding order

There's truly no rest for the wicked this evening, with races coming thick and seriously fast over the next few hours. Here's the local times for each event. If you’re in the UK just take away an hour.

Ready? Let's go

Good evening everyone, and welcome to the inaugural night of the UCI Track Champions League, live from Velòdrom Illes Balears de Palma. Mallorca is an all-year round cycling Mecca and this brand new event, taking place on the island, will be the centre of the cycling world for the next three hours. Our attention will be evenly divided between the muscle-bound sprinters and the lean, mean endurance machines, made up of an all-star line-up of 72 track stars - 36 men and 36 women - who will be busting the boards and giving it everything they’ve got.

SO WHAT IS THE UCI TRACK CHAMPIONS LEAGUE?

The UCI Track Champions League is a new series bringing together the world’s top riders in the velodrome as 72 athletes, 36 men and 36 women, compete for equal prize money across five meetings in 2021.
Both the men’s and women’s leagues are split in two, creating a Sprint Championship and a Endurance Championship for each. Each league will see 18 riders compete for glory, with points awarded for every place in every race.
The overall winner of each category will take home €25,000, with prize money awarded for each place in the main standings. Race winners will also receive €1,000, with financial incentives for places 1-10 in every race.

‘How it should be’ – Female stars on equality at UCI Track Champions League

SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP

Sprint

  • The first rider to cross the finish line after three laps wins
  • The first round features six heats of three riders going head-to-head, with the six winners progressing to the semi-finals
  • Two semi-finals of three riders then determine the final competitors, who will duke it out for the win in a two-rider final

Keirin

  • A mass start sprint over five laps, with the first two behind a Derny motorcycle setting the pace
  • Six riders will contest three heats, with the top two in each qualifying for the final

'I don't know what to expect' - Top sprinters excited for UCI Track Champions League

ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP

Scratch race

  • This bunch-start race will be contested over a relatively short distance of 5km (20 laps of the 250m track)

Elimination race

  • The last rider across the finish line every second lap will be eliminated
  • The first lap is a neutral lap with all 18 riders taking part from the off
Read what the riders are saying about the events here.

'Really exciting concept' - Get ready for the UCI Track Champions League Endurance events

WHEN ARE THE FIVE MEETINGS IN 2021?

The 2021 series takes place over five rounds across four countries, with each meeting condensed into a fast-paced two-hour programme.
  • Round 1: Mallorca, Spain – Saturday 6 November
  • Round 2: Panevezys, Lithuania – Saturday 27 November
  • Round 3: London, UK – Friday 3 December
  • Round 4: London, UK – Saturday 4 December
  • Round 5: Tel Aviv, Israel – Saturday 11 December
- - -
The UCI Track Champions League is coming and you can watch all of the action live on the Eurosport app, eurosport.co.uk and discovery+. Find out more about the "mind-blowing" new era for track cycling, with the first event on November 6 in Mallorca.
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