Just months ahead of the Rio Olympic Games, British Cycling appeared to be in turmoil – with accusations of a bullying culture and sexism circling the HQ.
The cyclists of the nation were concerned that the drama might rock the boat at the ‘Medal Factory’ in Manchester, but the riders have proved us wrong. In fact, every GB track cyclist who raced at the games has now collected a medal.
Gold for Trott
Only days ago, we reported that Laura Trott had become the first British woman to collect three Olympic Gold medals. This evening, she increased that total to four by defending her Omnium title, making her Britain’s most successful female Olympian.
Trott was clearly dominant across the six discipline race series. The medal that would be hanging around her neck seemed an almost foregone conclusion – but Trott was still in tears as she celebrated with a Union Jack flag around her neck, proclaiming absolute surprise.
Exploding with visible of joy and pride, she said: “I can’t believe it, I didn’t expect that at all, I’m just so happy that it all came together. I’m literally over the moon. I can’t even explain what I’m going through right now, I’m just so so happy.”
The 24-year-old began her assault on another Gold medal at the Rio Games with second place in the scratch race. She then won the Individual Pursuit, and the Elimination Race – beating Belgian rider Julien D’Hoore in the final sprint when all the other riders had been cut from the race.
Today, Trott extended her lead over the remaining events – the 500m TT, Flying Lap and Points Race.
Trott scored second in the TT, and raced to an incredible first place in the Flying lap with a time of 13.708. The power focused, shorter efforts haven’t always been Trott’s best – with her nimble form and excellent bike handling adding up to an athlete perfectly tailored to races like the Elimination and Points race. Her incredible success, even in her ‘weaker’ disciplines, goes to show what fantastic form she must be in for these Olympic games. Entering the Points Race, Gold was almost a done deal, barring disaster in the bunch.
As the 100 lap race got underway, Trott kept control of the proceedings, picking up points on many of the bell laps, but not being drawn into any panic moves in an attempt to gain excess scores. With the laps ticking away, those behind Trott on the overall standings had clearly ceased the battle for Gold, instead marking each other for Silver or Bronze.
In the end, it was Sarah Hammer (USA) who took the second step, with the Silver medal, whilst D’Hoore scooped Bronze.
Trott’s beaming smile and tears showed just how much her fourth Gold medal meant to her. To us, she’s an absolute inspiration, and we can only look forward to future success from this incredible athlete.
Sprint Silver for James and Bronze for Marchant
Female sprinters Becky James and Katy Marchant have been working their way through qualifiers and sprint rounds over the past few days. This evening, their efforts culminated in a Bronze and a Silver medal.
The success came as quite a surprise to much of the watching cycling population. Extreme disappointment was expressed by riders when Team GB failed to qualify to send a team to compete in the women’s Team Sprint – but evidently the fast and furious riders have been focusing their attentions on the individual event.
Marchant only took up cycling in 2013, having crossed over from heptathalon. In the deciding sprint for Bronze, the 23-year-old raced Dutch cyclist Elis Ligtlee, and the battle was close. In the final stretch, Marchant rode around the outside, just managing to throw her bike to the line ahead of her component.
Next up was Becky James, an athlete who has suffered injury and illness over the past couple of years. James competed against German Kristina Vogel – who stalled before the race with a mechanical that held up proceedings. In the end, Vogel took Gold – breaking her saddle (perhaps related to the mechanical!) in her effort, with James taking a second Silver in Rio.
We have loved watching every moment of GB’s success at the Rio Olympic Games, and would like to extend our own congratulations to these amazing riders.