Track Nations Cup
The Track Nations Cup in Adelaide represented one of the last opportunities for track competition before the Paris Olympics this summer, with four Scots travelling Down Under for the first of three meetings this spring.
Katie Archibald and partner Elinor Barker claimed gold in an expertly ridden women’s Madison on Saturday morning.
The British pairing dominated the race with their impeccably timed changeovers helping them to take maximum points in five of the 12 sprints.
Fellow Scot Neah Evans and partner Sophie Lewis put in an equally impressive ride in the Team Inspired skinsuits but were edged off the podium in the final sprint and had to settle for fourth.
There was medal success too on the opening day.
Friday saw Katie Archibald win silver as part of the Great Britain Team Pursuit squad. The quartet produced a time of 4:10.578 in the final and only narrowly missed out on the Gold to the Kiwis.
It was hat-trick of medals from Archibald on Sunday, with a silver in the women’s omnium. After impressive performances in the scratch, tempo and elimination races, Archibald came into the final points race in second place and had challenged Ally Wollaston for the gold. After being forced to chase down a late attack, she couldn’t compete in the final and crucial sprint and settled for the silver.
Teammate Neah Evans gained a solo lap in her push for bronze but was edged into fourth in the final sprint.
There was strong week too for the track sprinters; Jack Carlin rode to an excellent bronze medal in Men’s Team Sprint squad. The trio qualified third, before besting the two Chinese squads in the First Round and the Bronze Medal Final.
A strong fourth place in the Keirin and a Quarter Final exit in the Sprint competition show that the Scots is very close to the form he produced in Tokyo in 2021.
There was success too for Lauren Bell, who was on fine form in the Qualifying and First Round stage of the Women’s Team Sprint, and was able to claim gold, with the Team doing the business in the final against China.
The UCI World Championships are always the pinnacle of the Cyclocross season with the Czech course of Tabor playing host.
Scots Cameron Mason (Cyclocross Reds) and Corran Carrick-Anderson (T-MO Racing) were flying the saltire as part of the 11-strong British squad looking to bring the rainbow bands back across the North Sea.
Cameron Mason bounced back from a difficult start to battle through the field on the deteriorating course that Czechia had to offer.
Scaling the stairs for the first time, the chasing pack were altogether with riders fighting for position with Mason back in 33rd in a frantic opening lap.
Improvements from the Cyclocross Reds rider saw him climb into the top 30 on the second lap before reaching 24th on the following tour of the course, which had seriously degraded into a boggy quagmire in places.
Despite plenty of fight, Mason was unable to catch the coattails of the next group and came home in 24th place.
Saturday saw Corran Carrick-Anderson race in the Men’s Under 23 field. Unfortunately, he too was mired by a terrible start as the Scot was held up in a huge crash on the first bend, with the Peebles native hitting the deck but was able to remount his bike unscathed.
The under-23 national champion recovered well and chipped his way through the bunch to come into the second lap in 17th position.
Carrick-Anderson stayed within a group of five, ranging from 17th to 21st position throughout the race.
Saturday’s conditions saw the field quickly spread out, make gaining places incredibly difficult, but the Scot was able to cross the line in 20th position with one lap remaining. Fatigue did get the better of him, after a massive effort with the T-MO racing rider finishing in 25th place.
The two Scots had tasted success on Friday, when Great Britain kicked off the weekend with impeccable team tactics to see them take a silver medal in the team relay in a nail-biting sprint finish in Tabor.
After a strong ride by Zoe Backstedt to open against mostly Men’s U23 riders, Carrick-Anderson kicked off lap two with confidence, slowly making his way through, chipping away at the 44 second gap to the leading trio of France, Poland and Italy. As the gaps between riders increased, Carrick-Anderson stayed focused and on-tactic to handover to junior national champion Cat Ferguson in sixth position.
A battle with France saw it finely poised heading into the last lap, with Cameron Mason taking up the mantel and needing to overhaul the small advantage the French sextet had accrued if GB were to take the title.
Mason produced an excellent final lap – the quickest of the day – and was able to draw level with the French junior rider Aubin Sparfel heading into the finishing straight.
As both riders went full gas over the finish line, Sparfel took the win by the smallest of margins, throwing his bike inches ahead of Mason to take the title, with Great Britain taking the silver medal for the second year running.