Barker clinches world title with maiden scratch win

Elinor Barker had never won a scratch race but she saved a maiden win for the best time on the way to World Championship glory in Pruskow.

The 24-year-old has now won the rainbow jersey on four occasions, with two team pursuit golds, a points race success and this scratch victory on the opening day in Poland.

It was a masterful tactical display from Barker, who hid in the pack for virtually the entire race before coming through.

She hit the front just as a spectacular crash behind decimated the field, and then showed the power to hold off reigning champion Kirsten Wild, with Belgium’s Jolien D’Hoore taking bronze.

And Barker revealed afterwards that the victory was the first time she had ever managed to win a scratch race, a feat that was all the more impressive after an up-and-down World Cup season.

Barker told British Cycling: “I had a bit of a tough World Cup season for various reasons it didn’t really come into place for me. But I’d go through it all again to get to where I’ve got this week. Thankfully everything has come into place for me.

“I don’t think I’ve ever won a scratch race in my life, I’ve always timed it ever so slightly wrong and I’ve come second a lot of times, most recently at track nationals about a month ago. I can take a bit from that.”

Barker’s competition will continue on Thursday, as she goes in the team pursuit, with Britain’s women qualifying second fastest for the first round behind Australia.

“I knew safety-wise I wanted to come from the back to the front, wait for a bit of a lull, get to the front and then take it on and try to avoid any carnage because it’s the team pursuit tomorrow which really is the focus,” added Barker, who qualified alongside Laura Kenny, Katie Archibald and Ellie Dickinson.

The men’s team pursuit, made up of Ed Clancy, Kian Emadi, Ethan Hayter and Oliver Wood, matched their female equivalents by recording the second fastest time in qualifying, and then booked their place in the gold medal race with Charlie Tanfield coming into the team.

They will face Australia in the final as they look to retain the title won in Appledoorn a year ago.

It was a different matter in the team sprint however, with the British team of Jason Kenny, Philip Hindes, Ryan Owens and Jack Carlin losing out to eventual gold medallists, the Netherlands in the first round and coming fifth.

The Dutch were the class of the field, beating France in the final, with Russia taking bronze.

In the women’s equivalent, Katy Marchant and Victoria Williamson missed out on a place in the first round, coming 14th in qualifying.

Australia took the gold in that event as they got the better of Russia who took silver, with Germany winning bronze. Sportsbeat 2019