Donning the leader’s jersey since the opening round in Mallorca, Katie Archibald (CERATIZIT-WNT) made sure she would finish the series wearing it and regain the title she lifted two years ago. In pole position heading into the final double-header weekend, the Milngavie rider had an advantage, but knew she wouldn’t get any help in securing the series crown.
Archibald didn’t waste any time in enhancing her grip on the trophy though, with an impressive Elimination Race victory on Friday night, an event she has dominated this season, despite hitting the deck alongside a number of her rivals mid-race.
24 hours later, and with tactics creeping in, Neah Evans (Huub) took full advantage of some caginess in the fight for the overall title. After illness in Berlin, and skipping the Paris round to try and recover, she launched what would prove to be a winning move in the Scratch Race, in a breakaway of two riders, which would become three. Ultimately the Aberdeenshire rider would sear clear on the final lap to win in fine style.
Also getting his arms in the air on the final night was Dundee’s Mark Stewart (Bolton Equities Black Spoke) as he led a British 1-2 in the Men’s Scratch Race, again forging clear in the latter stages and having the strength to take the spoils on the final lap. Stewart then showed his exciting, charismatic racing style to thrill the crowd, dicing with death on a few occasions before finishing fourth in the Elimination to secure himself fourth overall in the series – a brilliant effort.
Naturally though, Archibald was the main story of the night, the weekend and the season, as third in the final Elimination Race of the five round series clinched her the title.
Afterwards, Archibald said:
“Overall, it’s been incredible. It makes me so happy to see track cycling on this big stage. Every single round the atmosphere has been incredible and it’s been a joy to race in.”
It would be remiss not to mention two rising stars in Kate Richardson (Lifeplus Wahoo) and Ellie Stone (Black Line), the duo acquitting themselves fantastically and gaining valuable experience ahead of what we expect to be long, successful careers. Richardson would finish 12th in the Women’s Endurance, with Stone 17th in the Women’s Sprint.
The Scots riding in Belgium this weekend were treated to proper cyclocross conditions, with run ups (and downs) and shin deep mud making for some thrilling race.
At the Superprestige in Niel on Saturday, Ishbel Strathdee (Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli) produced one of the results of her career with a 22nd place finish amongst the world’s best women, whilst Cameron Mason (Cyclocross Reds) produced another quality ride for seventh place, once again moving through the field throughout.
At the Dendermonde World Cup the following day he had his work cut out, a coming together on the start straight removing most of the spokes from his front wheel. After a run to the pits, he set about moving through the field, remarkably getting as high as sixth on an extremely physical parcour, before ultimately paying for his efforts to come home a very respectable 11th. Strathdee backed up her ride the previous day with a 31st place finish, a very solid ride in her first World Cup.
Closer to home
There was some great racing in action in Scotland this weekend too, notably with Johnstone Jets hosting the Scottish National Youth & Junior Track Championships at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. There was some terrific racing across the weekend, and you can catch up on all the action via our daily reports here:
Outside and embracing the cold autumn conditions were two further events, starting with the Clydesdale Colts Winter Cross at Chatelherault, part of the South West Winter series. This regional event gave young and inexperienced racers the chance to either hone their craft, or try cyclocross for the first time, before the Scottish Cyclocross Series continues in earnest next weekend.
In the Open & Junior race, Finlay Taylor (Royal Albert CC) was the runaway winner, whilst Edward Lindsay (Carnegie Cyclones) and Lewis McAusland (Falkirk Junior Bike Club) took the U16 and U14 boy’s victories. On the female side Zara Main (Deeside Thistle) was the standout performer, the U14 rider also topping the U16 standings
Meanwhile in Aberfoyle there was a new event on the calendar thanks to a collaboration between Vanelli-Project Go and Bike Trossachs who put on a brilliant day of gravel criterium racing. Racing on a 1.9km loop, there were two 20 minute qualifying races, with the top 50% of each going into the A final and the bottom 50% into the B final. A novel and inclusive format, it has already received lots of positive feedback and request for further events. With this and the Crits at the Turbine, a similar initiative run by JG Cycles at Whitelee Windfarm in the summer, we have some great new grassroots events popping up.
The men’s podium was made up of William Weatherill (Hope Factory Racing), Richard McDonald (Vanelli-Project Go) and Grant Scott (Ronde CC), whilst on the female side Arianne Holland (Alba Development Road Team) and Helen Gorman (Stirling BC) were the top finishers in the A & B finals respectively.