UCI Track Champions League, as it happened – Penultimate night in London as Katie Archibald, Emma Hinze defend leads
Welcome to the penultimate event of the UCI Track Champions League! Back-to-back rounds are on the menu at London’s Lee Valley Velodrome on Friday and Saturday as the inaugural series charges towards its finale. Can Britain’s Katie Archibald hold on to her lead in the women’s endurance standings? You can watch all of the action live on the Eurosport app, eurosport.co.uk and discovery+.
Emma Hinze v Lea Sophie Friedrich. It’s the two fastest women in the world, good friends, both desperate to knock each other’s pans in. Hinze the favourite, but not by a long way. You certainly wouldn’t know she’d crashed earlier this evening.
They circle nicely, before they get nasty. Hinze on the inside, leading out, forcing Friedrich to follow. Which she does like a train but can’t decouple the locomotive. Fantastic victory for Emma Hinze. It almost looked like it would be close, until it wasn’t. One each for these two tonight, who have dominated the sprint competition between them. It'll all be decided tomorrow in London.
What a night of racing we’ve had, again. I’d go as far to say this has been the best session we’ve seen in this league. Can tomorrow go even better?
Men’s keirin final - Stefan Botticher wins!
Nicholas Paul Vasilijus Lendel Jair Tjon En Fa Maximilian Levy Stefan Botticher Harrie Lavreysen
It’s nice to see a few less familiar finalists here, in the form of Max Levy and Jair Tjon En Fa. Can’t see either competing for the win but they’re gonna give it some, that’s for sure. Nicholas Paul is the dark horse, if Botticher and Lavreysen can cancel each other out, but surely it’ll be Lavreysen? Does he get tired?
Paul takes the derny’s wheel and looks around as the little bloke peels away. Max Levy goes mega early, Kenny style. Lavreysen is leaving it late, Botticher comes through… just to pip, not Lavreysen but Lendel to the line. A 70.161kph final 200m. 3rd for Jair Tjon En Far is a great result for him, with Lavreysen able to do no better than 4th. “He is huma, after all,” says Jo Rowsell.
One race left tonight, and it's the women's sprint final.
Men’s elimination - Gavin Hoover wins!
And we’re back with that most devilish of races, the elimination. Can Imhof do the double, as Strong did in Mallorca, and Mora managed last weekend in Lithuania? We’ll soon see.
The first rider out is… Kuboki of Japan. Just losing out to the Dutch rider, who hangs on and surges to the front. The British rider Josh Charlton is second out, and an early exit as well for Rotem Tene, who finds himself without an escape route.
Say goodbye to Ed Clancy, just for tonight, though. He’ll be back tomorrow for his final ever track race. The Portugese rider looks in trouble but he gets himself out at the expense of Chalel of Algeria.
Finishing 13th in this competition is Aaaron Gate of New Zealand, who seemed to know it, with his head down low. Next gone is Efting of the Netherlands who looks legless and has nowhere for them to take him anyway.
The 8th rider out is Corbin Strong, who really seems to have struggled tonight. Next out is another Brit, William Tidball, leaving just Rhys Britton on the track, going well. Leitao fights it out with Scartezzini to stay in, but the Portugese man has to go.
Rhys Britton gives up the ghost in 8th place - not a bad result for him, really considering how bad Laura Kenny told us he is at this race yesterday.
Finally Scartezzini runs out of matches, leaving us with five riders left, and out in 5th is Imhof, locked out of position and thrown out the back door. Four very good riders left, but it’s Martorell Haga, the second spaniard who’s next out. Missing out on the heads-up is Sebastian Mora, who was a long third there.
Down to two: Poland v USA. Hoover launches long and it’s all over. Hoover has been a very good, consistent competitor in this league. His first victory should move him up to second place overall and into a very good position going into the final night of racing.
Women’s sprint semi-finals
Semi-final 1 Emma Hinze Olena Starikova Mathilde Gros
The World Champion was never going to be in trouble, but she leaves nothing to chance. If the others thought the door might open a bit, they were sadly disappointed.
Semi-final 2 Lea Sophie Kelsey Mitchell Yana Tyshchenko
Has Mitchell found her mojo? It looked like it in the previous round. Friedrich picks up the pace, all the while watching the Canadian. The Russian joins the party but it’s too little too late, and it’s an all-German final. Mitchell was a long third, just didn’t have the legs.
Men’s keirin -- Round 1
Heat 1 Harrie Lavreysen Jair Tjon En Fa Rayan Helal Jai Angsuthasawit Kevin Santiago Quintero Chavarro Mateusz Rudyk
Remember, two go through here. So Lavreysen and… who? Colombia start the fire, which Rayan Helal adds fuel to with two laps to go. Here comes Lavreysen with Tjon En Fa right behind him. Unlucky for the Frenchman but clever riding from the Surinamese rider.
Through: Lavreysen and Jair Tjon En Fa
Stefan Botticher Jean Spies Kento Yamasaki Mikhail Iakovlev Jordan Castle Vasilijus Lendel
This time we’re asking Botticher and who? Or will his earlier effort have taken too much out of him? I’m going for Lendel again. Botticher on the wheel of the derny and it’s the Russian who launches the earliest attack, with Castle on his wheel. At the bell here comes Botticher… It looks like Iakovlev’s but the Lithuanian does indeed come through. He came from a long way back to steal second.
Through: Botticher and Lendel
Heat 3 Tom Derache Denis Dmitriev Hugo Barrette Nicholas Paul Max Levy
Last one and it’s just the five of them. Harder to call, but should be Nicholas Paul and Denis Dmitriev, you’d think. Meanwhile Carlton and Jo Rowsell are arguing over the type of dernies used. Derache picks it up, looks behind, and there goes Paul. It’s those two at the bell, long way to go… Dmitriev is first over the line and it’s a photo for the second spot. Paul was rapidly running out of gas but he just had enough in the tank to go through…. But hold on a mo… Dmitriev is disqualified and Max Levy goes through with Nicholas Paul.
Through: Max Levy and Nicholas Paul
Women’s elimination - Katie Archibald wins!
Can Katie Archibald maintain her 100% record in this competition? She seems to know how to beat every one of her rivals, but what can they do to beat her?
There’s a delay, as Yumi Kajihara doesn’t appear to be on her bike. By which I mean, she isn’t on it. Hope they don’t go without the Olympic omnium silver medalist. It seems to have something to do with a change of wheels, which is not a job I’d want to have to do under pressure. Kajihara had better not go out first, after all that.
Off they go. It’s last over the line who’s knocked out every other lap. And… Maria Martins of Portugal is GONE. She seemed to misjudge that one. Next up in this thick and fast race is Bacikova at the bottom of the track. Archibald rides round to safety, the Spanish rider Calvo is boxed in and knocked out. It looked very close for Katie Archibald there, but it’s Kendall Ryan who is eliminated next.
And Spain lose another one, Larrate. Norway’s Stenberg is out in 13th. Big to lose the rider in 4th overall this early.
Finishing in 11th place is Khatuntseva, the 8th rider to go, before we say goodbye to Michelle Andres of Switzerland. Katie Archibald is more visible than we’ve seen her in her previous wins, but still doing enough.
Next out is Maggie-Coles Lyster! Disaster for her to not finish higher than 8th place. Into the top five and Kajihara is still there, getting good mileage out of that spare wheel. The crowd her on edge as Archibald gives them something to worry about again, but makes it through. Baleisyte finishes 5th and just four big names left.
Wild leads from the front, Kajihara hanging on, but cannot hang on - out in 4th. Archibald at the back with three left, powers round and over Annette Edmondson. The final is Wild v Archibald again. Archibald uses the momentum to go long long long and the crowd are on their feet. Wild says “it’s all yours.” Wow! She toyed with us, leaving it late on multiple occasions. Three wins out of three in the elimination for Archibald, as she extends her lead in the endurance competition.
Women’s sprint - Round 1
Heat 1 Emma Hinze Sophie Capewell Miriam Vece
Hinze should have that, but how will she be feeling after that crash? Will the Italian or the Brit smell blood? Hinze leaves nothing to chance, taking the lead before the bell. It doesn’t look like she’s powering away, but there’s nothing Vece can do from her wheel. That’s why Hinze is the World Champion.
Through: Emma Hinze
Heat 2 Mina Sato Lea Sophie Friedrich Daria Shmeleva
Will Lea Friedrich continue the wave of German dominance of this competition? She seems to be following her team-mates lead by taking the lead before the bell. Sato does her best but Friedrich is having none of it. By three or four lengths, averaging 63kph for an 11.2 second final 200 metres. Easy peasy.
Surely Kelsey Mitchell will win this one? I’ve picked her a few times and been wrong though, whereas Simona Krupeckaite seems to be having something of an Indian summer to her career in the Champions League. Mitchell sits back and lets the Russian set the pace, winding up from behind. She has work to do at the bell, though, and she does it. Smoothly round the Lithuanian in the home straight, much more like we’ve come to expect from the Canadian.
Through: Kelsey Mitchell
Heat 4 Riyu Ohta Olena Starikova Lauriane Genest
Genest, with visible holes in her skinsuit, which makes me suspect this might not be her race. It’s the maple leaf vs the rising sun vs the Ukrainian, who goes long. Genest punches back round the final bend, but Starikova finds something extra in that home straight and denies Genest.
Through: Olena Starikova
Heat 5 Yana Tyshchenko Martha Bayona Pineda
With the Dutch riders absent, these two heats are your more traditional two-ups. That means, speaking strictly statistically, a 33% better chance for one of them to go through. It’s a much cagier start, as you’d expect with each rider having only one to watch. They push up to the top of the track and almost come to a standstill - you love to see it - before the Colombian darts down the track. Can the Russian come back? She finds herself on the wheel… and comes round! That was super stuff. Cool as you like.
Through: Yana Tyshchenko
Heat 6 Yuli Verdugo Mathilde Gros
I’m feeling pretty comfortable calling the Frenchwoman to emerge from this race. Verdugoes first, and settles to the inside of the track but Gros goes past her before the bell. Verdugo grabs hold of her wheel but Gros holds on. It wasn’t easy but she had the speed to hold off the Mexican woman. That was a very very good race, though.
Semi-finalists: Emma Hinze, Lea Sophie Friedrich, Kelsey Mitchell, Olena Starikova, Yana Tyshchenko, Mathilde Gros
Next up: The Women's elimination race
Men’s sprint final - Harrie Lavreysen wins!
It’s the big one, featuring the big men: Lavreysen v Botticher. Big opportunity for Botticher. Can he take it? The German winds it up, all while keeping an eye on Lavreysen behind him.
The German has the inside and it looks until very very late like he’s got the win as well, but the Dutchman just does enough. He throws the bike, and has it by half a wheel. Lavreysen now leads this competition by 21 points.
Lavreysen pips Botticher in sprint
Men’s scratch race - Claudio Imhof wins!
All to play for in this competition, with six riders less than twenty points apart.
Sebastian Mora 59 Corbin Strong 57 Gavin Hoover 53 Iuri Leitao 44 Aaron Gate 41 Kelland O'Brien 40
Btw with the Belgians unable to get to London, we have two British substitutes, Josh Charlton and William Tidball. Will we see a bit more early aggression in this race than we did the women’s cagey old affair?
We will. No attacks as such, with 15 laps remaining, but it’s going at a fair old whack, really strung out. Surely it’ll split the race? And it does. Four find themselves off the front led by Kelland O’Brien. Four become six, before being brought back by the bunch.
At the halfway mark it’s a little calmer, but only a little. Mora is doing a good job of watching every prospective attack. With seven laps left Imhof off Switzerland makes his move, and it’s a powerful one, as he quickly pulls out a third of a lap. He’s running away with it!
3 laps to go and Imhof is out of sight, but it’s all to play for further back. Imhof has time to celebrate while the others fight it out.
'What a move, chapeau!' - Imhof solos to victory in scratch race
1 Claudio Imhof 2 Kazushige Kuboki 3 Sebastian Mora 4 Rhys Britton 5 Gavin Hoover
Corbin Strong finishes down in 10th place.
Women’s keirin final - Lea Sophie Friedrich wins!
Mathilde Gros Miriam Vece Martha Bayona Pineda Lea Sophie Friedrich Olena Starikova Simona Krupeckaite
With Mitchell and Hinze out, the World Champion ought to walk this, but will being such a firm favourite prove to be to her disadvantage. She’s getting no lifts to the line, that’s for sure. So she goes very early, instead. Wow! That was an incredibly dominant ride from Lea Sophie Friedrich. Didn’t want to get boxed in, so knocked them all out with almost 300 metres to go. A second keirin win in the last week that’ll do her no harm in the overall standings.
Next up is the men's scratch.
‘Display of sheer power’ – Friedrich claims statement win in keirin
Men’s sprint semi-final
Semi-final 1: Harrie Lavreysen Jair Tjon En Fa Denis Dmitriev
It’s a matter of taking it to Lavreysen, isn’t it? Dmitriev does just that early, before backing out, and letting Lavreysen go through. They hang on his wheel, but that’s the best they can do. There’s no getting around him.
Through: Harrie Lavreysen
Semi-final 2: Stefan Botticher Tom Derache Vasilijus Lendel
It certainly should be Botticher, but I’ve been very impressed with the Lithuanian so far… Lendel opts to bring up the rear, while Botticher finds himself sandwiched, watching the man in yellow. At the bell Derache is out of it. It’s Lendel coming up on Botticher’s right, but it’s taken all his effort to draw level, and there’s no way he’s getting past the German.
Final: Lavreysen v Botticher
The Hinze / Genest crash
‘Contact!’ – Hinze and Genest collide and crash in keirin
Women’s scratch race
Rarely has one rider had quite such a large bullseye on her back as Katie Archibald in this scratch race. Anyone not trying to attack her from the gun, and being prepared to form alliances with anyone is going to be massively missing a trick. They don’t have many laps in which to take one, though… Can Katie control the whole thing? Now that’s a big ask.
The first few are a bit of a parade. Through and off, through and off, keeping the pace high. Honestly, you’re not going to beat Archibald like that. Halfway through and still nothing much happening… Are they really going to leave this to the end? With 8 to go it looks like the Polish rider is going to have a go... but no. No-one seems to want this.
Katie Archibald take the front with 5 to go, and that triggers something from the Polish rider. Archibald still very much in control on the black line, though. Kirsten Wild increasing the pace with Archibald on her wheel at the bell. Wild takes it, from Marina Martins of Portugal. Archibald in third, doing more than enough.
'Phenomenal' - Wild holds off entire field to win scratch race
Just a five-up race this, with the two Dutch riders sadly having to stay home. Hinze and… Genest, based on the standings, but could Sophie Capewell do something on home turf (slash track.) As the derny pulls off Gros picks it up with Genest boxed out of it. The Candadian fights her way over at the bell. BIG CRASH. Hinze seems to be pushing Genest out of the way. The pair lock bars and both hit the deck. With only three left it’s Mathilde Gros who finishes first, with the Italian just behind her.
Through: Mathilde Gros and Miriam Vece
Heat 2 Lea Friedrich (Germany) - 2nd Martha Bayona Pineda (Colombia) - 5th Yana Tyshchenko (Russia) - 8th Daria Shmeleva (Russia) - 17th Mina Sato (Japan) - 9th Yuli Verdugo (Mexico) - 11th
We’d like everyone to get around safely here, please. Lea Friedrich is the firm favourite, but who will join her? Carlton is appreciating the authentic derny noise so much, I don’t want to tell him it’s piped in. Sato makes the first move towards the front, it looks very feisty but fortunately they all stay up. Friedrich is safely in pole position at the bell and the Colombian is the one in second at the line, though.
Through: Martha Bayona Pineda and Lea Sophie Friedrich
Another five-header. As the Olympic champion, it should be Mitchell’s, but she’s not been the most consistent in this competition so far. Here comes the derny… The riders almost seem to miss it, as if they’re far more worried about losing this one than winning it. Two through does mean a very different dynamic, and offer a slightly alternate path to victory. Very very tight between them at the bell, Mitchell and Starikova seem to lock the others out, but Mitchell fades in the second half and Krupeckaite flashes by. Big surprise.
The women's scratch is up next, and they're all going to be gunning for Katie Archibald.
Men’s sprint round 1
Heat 1Helal just has the edge in this one “but don’t discount any of them” says Carlton Kirby. “The moment counts more than anything.” Tjob En Fa seems like a lovely chap, and would be great to see him progress. The Frenchman takes to the front and gradually winds up the pace. With one lap to go he leads, can’t get a big enough gap though and YES the young man from Suriname goes round him! Used the position and the aerdodynamic slingshot to his advantage. Through: Tjon En Fa
Heat 2 This is another one that’s practically too close to call - at least before they actually race. We can probably discount the South African but the Russian and the Lithuanian are running each other very close in the standings. Carlton fancies Iakovlev so I’m going for Lendel. This time Iakovlev stays back, and lets Spies lead it out down the back straight. At the bell Lendel goes round him, while Iakovlev leaves it very late. Too late. It’s a photo but the Lithuanian takes it. Through: Lendel
Heat 3 No-one’s going to bet against Nicholas Paul here, I don’t think. With Hoogland sadly sidelines he is in pole position for the podium. If you see what I mean. The Frenchman looks like he’s going long, very long, while the others hold his wheel. BIG surprise, there. I was sure Paul was going to come round, but Derache had more in the tank than I gave him credit for and he held on. Carlton thinks the other two were looking at each other and that’s what gave Derache the opportunity. He certainly took it. Through: Tom Derache
Heat 4 Just two riders in this heat, Barrette versus Dmitriev, so a bit more of a traditional track sprint. Neither would mind a result, I don’t imagine. They surf the cote d’azur before heading up the banking, before Hugo Barrette sweeps down to take prime inside position. He leads at the bell, but here comes Denis. Very well ridden, as the Russian advances. Through: Denis Dmitriev
Heat 5 Stefan Botticher needs this far more than the other two, who would probably just like it a lot. The German is the only male sprinter to win an event other than Harrie Lavreysen, but he’ll have to do it again to have a chance at toppling the great Dutchman. Castle is first out of the blocks, going low while Botticher heads up high. Botticher wants to win this one with a lap to go, and he practically does just that. Take that. Through: Stefan Botticher
Heat 6 Botticher could also do with Rudyk or Angsuthasawit doing him a favour here. Can’t see it happening, though.It starts out a bit nervy, as the riders all try and push each other into place. Rudyk goes hardest, earliest, but Lavreysen powers home. Never in doubt. Through: Harrie Lavreysen
Semi-finalists: Jai Tjon En Fa, Vasilijus Lendel, Tom Derache, Denis Dmitriev, Stefan Botticher.
Next up is the first of the women's keirin heats.
Here’s how the men’s sprinters line up
As always in this league, the heats and the semis are all threeway affairs. They’re just about to get underway, so here’s who’s racing whom.
Heat 1 Jair Tjon En Fa (Suriname) - 14th overall Kevin Santiago Quintero Chavarro (Colombia) - 7th Rayan Helal (France) - 9th
Heat 2 Vasilijus Lendel (Lithuania) - 6th Jean Spies (South Africa) - 17th Mikhail Iakovlev (Russia) - 5th
Heat 3 Max Levy (Germany) - 18th Nicholas Paul (Trinidad & Tobago) 4th Tom Derache (France) - 13th
This feature on the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, where a number of these riders train most of the year, is lovely.
'The place to be' – How UCI World Cycling Centre is helping boost diversity in cycling
Have you downloaded the app yet?
UCI TCL launches groundbreaking live rider data app
Ahead of sold-out back-to-back rounds in London this weekend, the UCI Track Champions League has unveiled its all-new UCI Track Champions League App - available on Android and iOS for free.
Using the app’s ‘Race Live Mode’, live telemetry data from riders’ performances - power, speed, heart rate and cadence - will be accessible via the click of a button. The new feature brings fans closer to the action than ever before - the 2000 watt attacks, the on-the-rivet breakaways at 190bpm and 75kmh photo finishes that make track cycling a truly stunning spectacle are all laid bare.
The app’s game-changing features do not stop there. Fans can even take an in-depth look at their favourite rider’s live average and maximum data across all four metrics via the ‘Riders Focus Mode’. Side-by-side comparisons between two athletes of choice are also available.
Pushing the ‘Feel Heartbeat’ button, viewers can even feel the live heartbeat of any given athlete at any moment in their hand using their smartphone’s vibrate function. Be it a nervous 130 beats per minute on the start line or a rapid 200bpm with one lap to go, this unique feature gives viewers unprecedented insight into world-class athletes’ performance.
Get yourself an immersive experience, asap.
I forgot Chris Hoy!
Who is also sitting alongside Orla and Kristina. Sorry Chris. You're only an actual knight, who won two gold medals in this very building in 2012.
Olympic Momentum Chris Hoy : Hoy won his 5th and 6th gold medals at his home Olympic Games in London in 2012
Image credit: Eurosport
A reminder of the top three in each category going into tonight….
Men’s endurance: Sebastian Mora 59 points Corbin Strong 57 Gavin Hoover 53
Women’s sprint: Emma Hinze 74 points Lea Friedrich 56 Kelsey Mitchell 50
Men’s sprint: Harrie Lavreysen 77 points Stefan Bötticher 59 Jeffrey Hoogland* 47 Nicholas Paul 41
*Withdrawn due to Covid
Eighty points on offer over tonight and tomorrow, so it really is all still to play for.
Tonight’s running order
Our hostess with the mostest, Orla Chennaoui will be live from Lee Valley on Eurosport from 6.30pm. Returning alongside her will be two greats of the track, Kristina Vogel and Laura Kenny. The first race kicks off at 7pm on the dot with the heats of the men’s sprint competition. Can anyone (i.e. Stefan Botticher) beat Harrie Lavreysen?
Welcome to the land of David Bowie, St Paul’s Cathedral, free museums, Shakespeare’s Globe, more pubs than you can shake a stick at, and some of the finest city parks in all the world. Or, alternatively, eye-watering house prices, stolen artefacts (looking at you British Museum), tax-avoiding oligarchs, and M&M World.
Tonight and tomorrow, however, my hometown plays host to the finest track cyclists in all the world. It’s the penultimate round of the inaugural UCI Track Champions League.
We’re in for a real treat and no mistake, cor blimey, how’s your father Mary Poppins.
Now it’s not an exaggeration to say that I know a bit more about the UK, London and Lee Valley than I did about Lithuania, Panevėžys, and the Cido Arena. As well as spending many an enjoyable hour in the stands and track centre, I have, in fact, ridden the very boards these riders will be rocking around. Best flying lap time: 3 minutes (approx). AMA.
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'I’m not afraid' - Sprinter Hinze on the London last chance saloon
Emma Hinze, who leads the sprint competition going into the final two rounds of the inaugural Track Champions League, expects the racing to be full-on in London.
With the Tel Aviv round, due to take place next weekend, now cancelled due to Covid, it leaves no room for error in the series deciders on Friday and Saturday.
“Everyone knows it’s the last two races, and we only have those two chances,” says Hinze.
With a much shorter gap between the Lithuania round and London, the German rider says she has found it more challenging than in the run-up to last weekend’s racing.
“It’s been stressful because I’ve only been home for two days… I trained on Monday and Tuesday, then we flew on Wednesday. I tried to recover but the time was really short, so I really hope I will be fit tomorrow.”
Three Dutch riders ruled out of London finale due to Covid
Shanne Braspennincx, Laurine van Riessen and Jeffrey Hoogland will not compete in the London legs of the UCI Track Champions League this weekend due to Covid.
Braspennincx and Van Riessen tested positive for coronavirus before flying to England, while the former’s partner Hoogland will also miss the event after developing symptoms.
“I do have some symptoms at the moment, such as a runny nose and headache, and I am a close contact with Shanne. Although I have not tested positive myself, the team doctor advised me not to travel," Hoogland told Eurosport.
It leaves runaway men's sprint leader Harrie Lavreysen as the Dutch’s sole sprinter in London.