Britain impress in team pursuit as Valente leads omnium after first session

Ed Clancy marked his return to the Great Britain jersey with a statement of intent as the home nation qualified fastest in the men’s team pursuit in the first session of the TISSOT UCI Track World Cup.

On an afternoon of impressive qualifying rides, Germany’s women and the Netherlands’ men topped the timing charts in the team sprint qualifiers.

While America’s Jennifer Valente goes into the night’s final omnium events leading, after two victories from two in the afternoon.

Great Britain’s team pursuit men went one better than their sprint colleagues qualifying fastest for round one as Clancy – making his first appearance in a GB jersey since the Rio Olympic Games – Kian Emadi, Ollie Wood and Steven Burke set the fastest qualifying time of 3:58.548.

Denmark, Switzerland and France will also go into the top heats in the first round.

British national champions Team KGF just missed out on the medal races as they finished fifth, with 100% Me – the third home squad in action – coming home tenth.

And despite not qualifying, Joe Holt, of 100% Me, said the memory of his first home World Cup will be one to savour.

“It was a good experience. Obviously being in front of a home crowd is something special,” said the 20-year-old.

“To be here in Manchester where we train everyday is brilliant.

“Personally, it wasn’t a great ride for myself. I was struggling there a little bit, it was a bit below where I think I should be.

“But the boys did an awesome job, so as a team I think it was alright but personally not great for myself.

“We’re a fairly young team and we’re a great quartet. To be in the same hotel as the GB boys like Ed Clancy and Steven Burke, they’re Olympic champions so mixing with them as the GB team is a great experience.”

In the women’s team sprint it was Germany who qualified fastest for the first round as birthday girl Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte combined to set a time of 32.604s.

They were closely followed by world champions Russia, as Daria Shmeleva and Anastasiia Voinova came home with the second fastest time ahead of the Netherlands.

India crashed early in their heat with Great Britain, leaving the home duo with an anxious wait as all heats were completed before the Indians were allowed another shot at setting their time.

Katy Marchant and Sophie Capewell’s effort of 33.778s was good enough for the final qualifying spot, though, as Spain, China, Lithuania and the Holy Brother Cycling Team also made Friday night’s first round.

While in the men’s event the Netherlands led the way as Harrie Lavreysen, Nils Van’T Hoenderdaal and Jeffrey Hoogland were the only team to dip under 43 seconds, stopping the clock in 42.967.

British trio Jack Carlin, Philip Hindes and Joe Truman were next best with an effort of 43.341, while Germany and Beat Cycling Club also made the cut.

Russia, like India in the women’s event, faced a second ride to ensure their progression, with France, Poland and Czech Republic making up the final eight teams.

The afternoon’s other event saw Valente dominate the omnium, which began with a cagey scratch race as the bunch stayed as one for the whole of the 7.5km distance.

World and European champion Katie Archibald tested the water with a dig midway through the race, but when a gap did not appear the race came down to two-lap effort.

And it was the USA’s Valente who crossed the line first after a lengthy attack, ahead of Amalie Dideriksen, Elisa Balsamo and Archibald, in fourth.

The tempo race then saw all of Valente, Archibald and Balsamo finish on five points, but the American took the win by virtue of crossing the line ahead of her competitors – with Archibald second and Dideriksen third.

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