the Track Cycling World Championships.
It as after the men could only pick up the silver medal in the team pursuit, well beaten by the Australians in the final, that it hit rock bottom.
The all conquering Olympic squad were dead and buried.
Of course they were all forgetting the complaints of the other nations after last years World and Olympic success.
You’ve won bugger all for three years and now everything, how can this be? While not strictly true it’s all down to what the men’s quartet stated after their “loss”. It’s the beginning of a new Olympic cycle, winning World titles is great but would those Aussies have preferred to win this race or the one a few months back? The one that really counted, one that only comes around every four years not every year.
And as Ed Clancy mentioned after the last Olympic success in Beijing 2008 in the following World Championship the men’s quartet finished 6th. Second is an improvement especially when considering Clancy was trying out for the team sprint, while two of the others weren’t in the Olympic final.
Though there were upsets on the way, Jason Kenny not being at his best in the men’s sprint things were soon back on track. So much so that GB picked up their second best medal haul over the last five championships. Coming top of the medal table, by golds or total medals.
One of those riders alone would have come fourth in the medal table. The new queen of the track Becky Davis.
After a couple of years blighted by injury and illness she sat out the Olympics, where only picked as a standby to come to Minsk wanting to just be back in competitive racing, hoping for top 8 finishes. Five days later she walked away with 4 medals – joint most by any single rider at a single championships – two of which being gold.
World Champion in the sprint and the keirin. To go with bronzes picked up in the team sprint, with Vicky Williamson, and the 500 metre time trail. During the two gold medal winning disciplines she put on some great riding. Power, speed and certain amount of nous.
It’s yet another example of GB cycling being able to replace World Champions with World Champions. Victoria Pendleton retires, in steps Davis, almost seamlessly.
It happened in the women’s team pursuit as well. Joanna Rowsell – who has three World titles and a silver as well as Olympic gold – is off on the road and in steps Elinor Barker a couple of weeks before and she’s now a World Champion, alongside Dani King and Laura Trott.
The other queen of the track, Trott stood on the second tier of the medal podium for the first time in an age. Only managing silver in the omnium, after a poor points race. 10th in that race was all that cost her and now she’s seen as the main target, races like the points will be harder, you can’t cover every break.
Her other half, Jason Kenny, had a mixed championships as mentioned before he looked out of sorts in the sprint. In the keirin he looked out of sorts and brilliant. Having to go through the winner takes it all repechage, after only coming 3rd in his first round heat, he struggled in the second round, finishing outside the qualifying places in fourth. Luckily for him the heat winner from France, Pervis, was disqualified and Kenny was in the final.
In the final we finally saw the man who took Sir Chris Hoy’s place. Seemingly boxed in and well behind the leader, a quick jink and he was up to second just when it mattered and then a devastating burst saw him go over the top of the German, Levy, with enough to spare that allowed Kenny to celebrate before crossing the line.
In between all that Simon Yates picked up a magnificent gold in the men’s points race.
Nine medals, five gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze. Most countries would rip their arm off for that.