Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com - 11/02/2023 - Cycling - 2023 UEC Track Elite European Championships - Tissot Velodrome, Grenchen, Switzerland - Josie Knight of Great Britain wins Silver in the Women’s Individual Pursuit final.

Knight takes silver on penultimate day of European Championships

Josie Knight picked up her second medal of the week with individual pursuit silver at the UEC Track Elite European Championships in Grenchen, Switzerland.

Will Perrett further added to the Great Britain Cycling Team’s impressive medal tally on the night, with a nailbiting bronze in the omnium.

Women’s individual pursuit

Newly-crowned team pursuit champions Josie Knight (3:22.198) and Anna Morris (3:22.856) continued their impressive form by qualifying second and third fastest in the individual pursuit.

This set up a gold medal ride for Knight against world champion Franziska Brausse, and the German put on a show in the rainbow bands in the final, leading from the start and taking the victory by more than three and a half seconds.

Returning home with two medals, after winning team pursuit gold earlier in the championships, Knight said: “Glasgow worlds is a big target of mine, so I’ve been trying not to get too nervous about this and see it as a stepping stone, and tried a bigger gear. So to get second is really good.

“Huge credit to our coach Cam. He’s just come in and he’s on it, he says what he thinks, and I just really trust in him, so anything he says I’m just like okay, let’s go! It makes a big difference having someone who genuinely believes in you.”

In her ride for bronze, Anna Morris rode brilliantly and led Germany’s Mieke Kroger until the final two laps, but a strong finish from Kroger denied her of what would have been a well-deserved medal.

Men’s omnium

After finishing in seventh place in Thursday’s points race, Will Perrett was back on track for the omnium, and took 10th place in the opening scratch race after a group of seven riders got away from the bunch.

Perrett battled hard in the tempo race, and a lap gain in the dying stages secured him fourth place, leaving him sat in seventh position and in touching distance of the medals at the half-way stage.

Returning for the evening session, Perrett then took eighth in the elimination race. Though he appeared to grow stronger as the race progressed he found himself boxed in on the back straight of the final lap, and despite a strong burst to force himself into contention in the sprint he was eliminated by the finest of margins.

The result left him in fifth place going into the decisive points race, and Perrett made his intentions clear from the off, scoring in the third sprint and taking maximum points in the fourth. A lap gain then elevated him into the bronze medal position, though a medal was by no means guaranteed, and lap gains elsewhere soon saw him lying in fourth heading into the final stages.

However, Perrett ended brilliantly, with another lap gain and more sprint points on the eighth and ninth sprints pushing him back onto the podium, and despite a late charge by Germany’s Roger Kluge he managed to hold on for a brilliant bronze by just two points.

Afterwards, Perrett said: “It was a nice mindset to go in having nothing to lose. I was in fifth place going into the final and you’ve just got to go for it, otherwise there’s no point coming home with fifth.

“I’ve only just been put on the programme, so everything’s new. Again in this omnium, I’m not that far off, and in that final points race I showed that I was one of the strongest guys there. It’s so different racing at this level, because if you make any mistake you’re punished for it.

“I’m just really enjoying it. At heart I’m just someone who loves racing, I love being in this environment. You’re always looking ahead thinking ‘I’d love to go to Glasgow’, because a home world champs is something really special, but if I want to go to Glasgow I’ve got to put in performances like that final points race to get a spot because we’ve got such a strong squad.”

Women’s 500m time-trial

Lauren Bell (33.859) and Katy Marchant (33.934) both progressed through to the 500m time-trial final, after qualifying in sixth and eighth place respectively.

Bell set an improved time of 33.710 in the final to take home a sixth place finish, with Marchant eighth to cap off a successful return to major competition, after Wednesday’s team sprint silver.

Women’s points race

Neah Evans donned the rainbow stripes for the points race to close day four, looking to add to her own team pursuit gold medal. Despite picking up maximum points on the second sprint and three more on the third, Evans wasn’t able to get the all-important lap gain, finishing the race in seventh place.

Header image:  Josie Knight of Great Britain wins Silver in the Women’s Individual Pursuit final at the 2023 UEC Track Elite European Championships, Tissot Velodrome, Grenchen, Switzerland. Credit: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

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