Another medal for host country
The second day of the European Track Cycling Championships in Omnisport Apeldoorn was all about sprinting. In both the women’s and men’s category there was spectacle and host country the Netherlands won another medal.
Dutch rider Elis Ligtlee turned out to be a big surprise among the best sprinters of Europe. For a 19-year old taking part in her first elite championship, she started in a very convincing manner. She clocked the fastest time (11,115) in the qualifying round of 200 meters. It also meant a new track record for Apeldoorn.
Through a simple victory over Miriam Welte in the 1/8 knock-out finals and by beating France’s Montauban in two heats, Ligtlee faced Jessica Varnish in the semi-finals and beat her 2-0. In the final experienced German rider Kristina Vogel turned out to be too strong for Ligtlee. The bronze medal was for Varnish. “I am very happy with this result,” a smiling Ligtlee said. “I am suprised actually. I didn’t expect to already do so well among these world class riders.”
Russia took a gold medal on the men’s sprint on Saturday night. Denis Dmitriev won his third European title, after victories in 2010 and 2012. Powerhouse Robert Förstemann was a serious opponent but after a relegation for the German in heat 1, Dmitriev beat him in heat 2. Olympic champion Jason Kenny from Great Britain took bronze.
The women’s omnium turns out to become a battle between the Netherlands, Great Britain and Belgium. After three events Kirsten Wild leads, but the difference with Jolien d’Hoore is only one point: 6 vs 7. Laura Trott of Great Britain is currently third with 8 points.
Wild started off well with a victory in the flying lap but had to let D’Hoore and Trott take more points in the points race. In the elimination race Wild lost to d’Hoore by a small margin. The men’s omnium is less exciting. Russian Victor Manakov proves to be the most consistent rider. He came in second in the points race and the elimination event. His fifth place in the flying lap makes him the day’s leader. Tim Veldt of the Netherlands is at five points and Ireland’s Martyn Irvine at ten points from Manakov.
Photo: Gert Bonestroo - GeeBeeFoto