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Katie Archibald in control heading into final day of UCI Track Champions League

·3-min read

Katie Archibald will go into Saturday’s closing round of the inaugural UCI Track Champions League in control of the women’s endurance standings after winning Friday’s elimination race at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London.

Archibald’s win ahead of Kirsten Wild, who had won the scratch race earlier in the night, extended her overall lead to 35 points ahead of Australia’s Anette Edmondson – with a maximum of 40 available when the competition concludes with the second night of London’s double-header on Saturday.

Archibald, who won Olympic Madison gold and team pursuit silver this summer, survived a couple of close calls earlier in the elimination race as she hovered around the back of the pack, but once numbers whittled down Archibald attacked in the final two laps to race clear of Wild.

“That was a lot,” Archibald said. “On more than one occasion I’ve planned out the final sprint before an elimination and not gotten there.

“There’s always a bit of hesitancy and sometimes I put too much forethought into it but I knew before I got on the startline, really from a lack of confidence, that if I was going to do anything I was going to have to go as soon as possible and make it as long as possible.”

Archibald had arrived in London with a 13-point lead over Canadian Maggie Coles-Lyster after winning both the scratch and elimination races in last week’s round in Panevezys, Lithuania, and the Scot extended her advantage with third place in the opening scratch race with Coles-Lyster a lowly 14th.

This new-look series, designed to win over new fans with a TV-friendly format, was originally due to include six events, but with the Paris leg and next week’s planned finale in Tel Aviv both lost to the pandemic, it will instead conclude this weekend.

With the format new to everyone – not least a field of riders who qualified via the Olympics or the world championships – Archibald admitted she had not quite got her head around the standings, but even with a commanding advantage, she has no plans to take it easy on the final night.

2021 UCI Track Champions League – Round Three – Lee Valley VeloPark
The TV-friendly series is designed to win new fans for track cycling (John Walton/PA)

“I’ve only just downloaded the app,” she said with a laugh when asked about her lead. “The scoring doesn’t come as naturally for me. The scoring in an omnium is second nature but I’m readjusting.

“I’m not the brightest light on the Christmas tree but I’m the most persistent. Thirty five sounds good so I’ll go with that.

“A big part of coming into this league and convincing my coach it was a good idea was to have world-class race experience again and again, so if that didn’t happen I wouldn’t have kept my word.

“I know what went wrong in that scratch race and it would be nice to correct it.”

Olympic champion and Dutchman Harrie Lavreysen continues to lead the men’s sprint standings, with Sebastian Mora of Spain remaining top of the men’s endurance standings.

Germany’s Emma Hinze has a slender lead, just 95 points to 93, over Lea Freidrich after beating her compatriot in the final race of the night.

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