Katie Archibald lived up to her world champion billing on Day 5 at Six Day London as the rainbow jersey-wearer proved to be the class of the field and winner of the UCI women’s omnium.
The victory means she goes into the final day holding a 53-point lead over Neah Evans in the overall standings, with Cameron Meyer and Callum Scotson having moved back into the lead of the men’s competition with a crucial Madison win on the penultimate day.
But it was once again Archibald’s night, and with the women’s Madison to come on Sunday, she cannot hide her excitement at the thought.
A second place in the opening scratch race, behind compatriot Barker, was followed up by a win in the tempo as she joined seven other riders in taking a lap on the field – Emily Nelson finishing in second and Eleanor Dickinson in third for an all-British podium.
And the British dominance continued in the elimination race as the Netherlands’ Kirsten Wild was outnumbered three to one in the final four.
Dickinson went first, before Wild and Barker to leave a shootout between housemates Archibald and Neah Evans – a battle the omnium world champion went on to win comfortably.
And despite closest rival Evans trying to gain a crucial lap in the closing points race, Archibald was able to bridge the gap and secure the win.
In the men’s racing, things did not start well for the Australians as they suffered an early failure in the elimination race – won controversially by France’s Benjamin Thomas and Morgan Kneisky, with the former riding between Belgium’s Moreno de Pauw and Kenny de Ketele as they went for a final changeover in the back straight.
But Meyer and Scotson hit back in an all-action 45-minute Madison chase that saw 14 teams take a lap – but the Aussies bested everyone else again with a solo lap to take the race ahead of Mark Cavendish and Pete Kennaugh.
That win put the Australians back into the lead, with Chris Latham and Steven Burke then setting the time to beat in the 250m Madison TT at the halfway stage in the competition.
And the crowd had another British success to cheer in the 60-lap derny A final as Kennaugh set up Cavendish for a sprint finish behind de Ketele for a vital win that saw Meyer and Scotson fail to finish and drop crucial points.
The final Madison began with three teams taking a lap, and in all there were four that came into the final sprint with a shot at a win, with Casper von Folsach and Niklas Larsen getting it on the line.
Meyer and Scotson finished back down in 12th, but the former was happy with their night’s work – despite his puncture in the derny.
“We’re in a great position. We really fought well in that first Madison to take the victory and gain that extra lap,” said the current team pursuit and points race world champion.
“We’re down a tiny bit in points, which we might not tick over for the extra bonus so we know we have to really go out there fighting.
“It’s not fun trying to hold a puncture up at 60km/h – so I’ve got all my skin left and it was an OK result.”
Scotson, meanwhile, was keen to look forward to Sunday’s closing hour-long Madison chase.
He said: “All week we’ve been super excited for the 45-minute Madison and when it gets to the halfway point and it starts to blow, we know we’re coming into our own – so Sunday should suit us.
The sprinters’ event continued to prove a battle of the Kiwis as first Eddie Dawkins again got the better of his compatriot in the 200m flying lap time trial – setting a time of 10.144s.
But he could not make his advantage stick in the sprint finals as Ethan Mitchell extended his lead in the overall standings.
But the biggest sprinter cheer of the night came for Britain’s Matthew Rotherham, who held off late attacks from Dawkins and European keirin champion Maximilian Levy to record his second win of the week.
“I had two world champions right in front of me and I wasn’t really counting my luck there but I managed to find a gap in the middle and managed to get through,” said the man from Bolton.
“It’s really great. It was sold out and the noise in here, any time a British person goes into the lead, it amplifies amazingly – that was the best part of that win.”
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