Manchester World Cup – what the riders said
So round two is over and the TISSOT UCI Track World Cup rolls on to Milton, Canada, in three weeks’ time, but let’s take one last look back at what the riders made of competing in Manchester.
Kristina Vogel, Great Britain’s team pursuiters and Australia’s Matthew Glaetzer were the stars of the show, winning medals galore and breaking records along the way.
All the while they were cheered on by sellout crowds and the famed Manchester roar, spurring them on to dig a little deeper.
For Glaetzer, just riding in Manchester – the track on which his idol Sir Chris Hoy honed his formidable sprinting skills – was something in itself, even before he went on to set the fastest sea-level kilometre time trial in history with a clocking of 59.970s.
“It’s awesome. There are legends of the sport that have done the event, like Sir Chris Hoy, that I’ve looked up to,” said the 25-year-old.
“To set the record in Manchester, too. There is so much history here and it’s such a great venue, the crowd is fantastic.
“It’s always a world class turnout and it’s always a special event when it’s held here.”
And it was not just Glaetzer reminiscing in Manchester, either, with German sprinters Miriam Welte and Maximilian Levy each harking back a decade having helped their nation to the team sprint double.
“I always love to ride here in Manchester. The crowd is good and there is big support. I really love the track,” said Welte.
“The first time I was here was 2007, so ten years ago! This is so amazing to be back here and to get a gold medal – hopefully I can come back again.”
While Levy went back even further.
“Twelve years ago I won my first World Cup in Manchester, so it’s good to be back on the podium so many years after I started my senior career,” said the four-time world champion.
New champions were also crowned, as the next generation of omnium talents continued to show their talents on the track.
At the age of just 22, both Benjamin Thomas and Jennifer Valente are already two-time world champions and further illustrated their pedigree with gold medals in Manchester.
“All the fans here are incredible. It’s really great,” said American Valente. “Plus all the community programmes. Coming into this World Cup, people know about it, it’s on social media and it’s exciting for the riders to see that and experience it.”
While Thomas, who next year will turn professional on the road with the French FDJ team, ended his track year on a high.
“When you ride here in Manchester there is always a great atmosphere at the track,” he said. “People are really supporting you as if you were a home rider.
“It’s great to ride here.”
But the last word has to go to British team pursuit specialist Ed Clancy, who made his return to international track competition in Manchester 15 months after winning Olympic gold – and where better to do it than on the boards he calls home.
The 32-year-old concluded: “I have to admit, I love the place, it feels like home. It’s nice to come here and do this.”