Rarely does it happen that, in a race of such chaos and confusion, a plan comes together so perfectly.
But come together it did for Katie Archibald and Emily Nelson as they swept to a dominant victory and claimed Britain’s first Track Cycling World Championship women’s Madison gold medal.
With Archibald having pulled out of the defence of her world omnium title on Friday due to illness, there were doubts about the Scot’s fitness heading into Saturday’s Madison.
And when partner Elinor Barker withdrew early on Saturday, still feeling the effects of a crash on Friday, it left Archibald paired up with Emily Nelson.
But with Nelson having won silver alongside Barker in Hong Kong last year – the first time the women’s Madison had ever been held at a World Championships – there was no loss in pedigree for the British pair.
And so it proved, with a run of eight straight intermediate sprint victories adding to fourth in the first, second in the tenth and second in the race for the finish line, leading to a total of 50 points – the Netherlands a distant second on 35.
“Our strength is our speed so we said we were going to go in for every sprint and capitalise,” said a jubilant Archibald.
“We didn’t want to take a lap, we wanted to mark out every lap and win every sprint.
“We tried for 12 and eight’s good enough isn’t it!
“It’s fantastic news that it’s in the Olympics. Everyone goes on the same joyous wave in this Olympic cycle with the Madison getting so much attention.
“We’re so grateful to be part of that big step forwards.”
With two more World Championship Madisons to come before the event makes its women’s debut at Tokyo 2020, Great Britain – currently European champions and with multiple World Cup medals to their name – are developing a fine track record in the event.
“I’m pretty happy,” added Nelson – who had earlier clocked a personal best to finish ninth in the women’s individual pursuit. “I’m quite speechless to be honest. The silver last year, I was so happy with that but to come away with gold this year is pretty special.”
The medal wins were not done there, though, as 20-year-old Jack Carlin won a second silver of the week, this time in the individual sprint.
Impressing on working his way to the final by beating former team sprint world champions Eddie Dawkins and Maximilian Levy, Carlin was up against an Australian in form in the final.
And try as Carlin might, putting up two strong efforts in each of the races, Matthew Glaetzer pipped him to the line on each occasion to win his first individual sprint world title – leaving Carlin to collect silver to add to his team sprint honours.
Elsewhere in Apeldoorn Katy Marchant finished eighth in the women’s 500m time trial, Ollie Wood came home sixth in the men’s omnium and Eleanor Dickinson clocked a new personal best to finish seventh in the women’s individual pursuit.
Sunday sees the men’s Madison while Barker could be back in action to defend her world points title, Marchant completes her hectic week in the women’s keirin and Olympic team sprint champion Callum Skinner goes in the kilometre time trial, alongside Joe Truman.