The opening day of the final round of the Six Day Virtual Series certainly did not disappoint. Read the review below to catch up on all the racing or click the video below to watch it for yourself!
Sprint (Heat 11)
It was an all-Czech showdown in the first match sprint of Round 3 with leader Tomáš Bábek looking to grab a victory over younger compatriot Jiří Janošek. Despite an excellent performance from Janošek, the European Champion was in no mood to give up his place at the top of the table. Flying into the home straight Janošek had built up a healthy lead and look set to take a big scalp with only metres left to go. However, Bábek successfully made a late dash for the line that saw come over the top of his rival and cross the whitewash in first place.
Still recovering from the sprint, Bábek joked, ‘Jiří made it pretty hard for me today but I’m happy to win!’
Keirin (Race 7)
As the Derny came off the track with 3 laps to go, all riders were wary of attacks, riding closely together in a bunch. Coming into the last lap it was Jiří Janošek that led the pack, injecting a huge burst of speed to create a small lead off the front. The Czech showed impressive endurance but could not hold it to the line as a fast-finishing Alex Spratt took advantage of the tiring Janošek to clinch his second Keirin win of the competition.
Sprint (Heat 12)
Jonathan Mitchell came into his fourth match sprint of the competition still looking for his maiden win. Up against rising star Anton Höhne, the Scot had a tough ride ahead of him and definitely no easy route to victory. Mitchell, looking to take control of the race attacked on the final lap and lead heading down the back straight. Ramping up the speed on turn 3, Höhne caught Mitchell mid-way through the finishing straight and sailed past to cross the line and maintain his unbeaten record in match sprints.
Women’s Scratch Race
The race burst to life with only 5 laps remaining as Danish rider Winther Olsen looked to test the strength of her rivals by cranking up the pace when all the riders were deep in the red. Riding well, Neah Evans closed the gap with a huge effort that subsequently brought the field back together. With everyone now racing as a bunch once more, it was all going to come down to a sprint finish. Buoyed by her previous win, Barker charged for the finish line, getting there just ahead of a grimacing Zoe Backstedt and Gaby Homer. A great result for the young Irish rider who secured her first podium finish.
Commenting on virtual racing, Barker reflected, ‘it’s quite a skill trying to do the virtual racing, it’s quite different to kind of [sic] a real velodrome so I think I’ve picked a few tricks from my time and improved on it. It’s nice to finally get a win!’
Here are the standings at the end of Day 1!