Five intense and exciting days. Here is the final summary of the 2016 edition of the Elite Track European Championships raced in the modern velodrome of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, close to Paris.
The continental competition in which 277 athletes took part from 27 countries to battle it out for 23 titles, highlighted some interesting features, not only on a technical level, that were especially significant since some countries after the Rio Olympic Games started a new cycle, that will take them to Tokyo 2020.
The huge crowds at the National Velodrome with a worldwide reputation for excellence, and the extensive live coverage broadcast by the EBU (Eurovision Broadcasting Union) in over 60 countries, are proof of the growing public and media interest in Track cycling. It's one of the oldest sporting disciplines which continues to develop in terms of popularity and importance particularly on an Olympic level.
France dominated the final medals table with 3 gold medals, 1 silver and 1 bronze, just ahead of Russia and Great Britain. The event was of great significance technically speaking with well-defined key moments.
The Spaniard Albert Torres and the British rider Katie Archibald raced to victory in the Omnium races based on the new formula (four races the same day). In the Men’s events Torres won the gold medal thanks to an excellent race in which he dominated in the «Tempo Race» and attacked in the final moments of the final points race, winning a lap and 20 points, vital to achieve success. Behind him was the Swiss rider Gael Suter (winner of the Scratch title) and the Frenchman Benjamin Thomas. In the Women’s events, Katie Archibald dominated the race beating the Dutch rider Kirsten Wild and the Belgian Lotte Kopecky .
The Men’s points race was literally dominated by the young Danish talent, Niklas Larsen who gave a first-class performance with a three lap lead on his opponents racing perfectly to victory. Behind him was the Belgian rider, Kenny De Ketele and the Bylorussian Raman Ramanau.
The final of the Men’s Individual Pursuit was also very exciting with the Frenchman Corentin Ermenault who beat the reigning World Champion, the Italian Filippo Ganna. Ermenault had a great start, even managing to gain 4 seconds over the Italian, who tried to make a come back a few laps from the finish but completed the race in 4’19”084 against Ermenault’s time of 4’18”778. The Dutch rider, Dion Beukeboom took third place on the podium.
The Spaniards Sebastian Mora and Alberto Torres repeated last year’s success by winning the Madison title ahead of the Frenchmen Morgan Kneisky and Benjamin Thomas and the Belgians Kenny De Ketele and Moreno De Pauw. The first edition of the Women’s Madison European Championships was won by Belgium. Jolien D’Hoore and Lotte Kopecky dominated the race (30 km, 120 laps) winning points in each of the 12 intermediary sprints. Second place went to the British riders Kay and Nelson and third to the Dutch Wild and Kessler.
The finals of the Team’s Individual Pursuit were spectacular as always with France triumphing in the Men’s events and the Italian team in the Women’s. The very young French riders selected (Thomas Denis, Corentin Ermenault, Florian Maitre, Benjamin Thomas) and the expert Sylvain Chavanel who raced in the qualifications, beat Italy in the final with bronze going to Great Britain. The new Italian European Champions also gave a great show with Elisa Balsamo who had won the Junior Road World Champion’s jersey a few days before in Doha and only a few months ago the European and World titles in the Omnium and Junior Team Pursuit.
With Elisa Balsamo on the top step of the podium were Tatiana Guderzo, Simona Frapporti, Francesca Pattaro and Silvia Valsecchi.
Also in the Women’s events, Kirsten Wild confirmed her great form. After her silver medal at the Road World Championships in Doha, the Dutch rider triumphed in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in the Points Race and the Elimination, the British rider Katie Archibald took the title in the Individual Pursuit.
In the Sprint disciplines, remarkable win by the World Champions in the Team Sprint, the Russians Anastasiia Voinova and DariaShmeleva (also first in the 500 metres) and the French rider Quentin Lafargue in the 1-kilometer time trial, while the Lithuanian Simona Krupeckaite triumphed in the Sprint. Other titles went to the Russian Pavel Yakushevskiy (Sprint), for the Czech Republic Tomas Babek (Keirin) and to the German Stefan Schafer in the Stayer race.