While Great Britain – with three-time Olympic champion Ed Clancy back on the track for the first time since Rio – topped the time sheets to set up a gold medal clash with Denmark, British national champions KGF finished fourth fastest to book a Saturday meeting with France.
There was a brief panic when the big screens in the Velodrome suggested Germany were into the bronze medal race instead but the young quartet of Daniel Bigham, Charlie Tanfield, Jacob Tipper, and Jonathan Wale got good news when their team manager returned from a meeting with commissaires.
“We panicked for a minute there,” admitted Tipper, with the confusion coming after Germany won their heat with Italy but did so in a slower time than KGF.
The young group – made up of two engineers, a student and a coach who are well used to sleeping on each others’ floors as they pursue their cycling dreams – recorded a time of three minutes 58.134 seconds, just under two seconds off the fastest time of Britain’s Steven Burke, Kian Emadi, Oliver Wood and Clancy.
KGF race on a shoestring budget – they are not sure if they can afford to attend another World Cup meeting this season – and upset the odds by winning the national title in January.
World champion Katie Archibald had to settle for silver behind American Jennifer Valente in the omnium after fading at the very end of the deciding points race.
Archibald was just one point behind Valente with 10 laps of the final event to go, but could not hang on and eventually finished five points off the American’s winning total of 139 points.
“I had to get points on the board early, but we were obviously both struggling,” Archibald said. “Everything body thinks they can put it all on the line on the last lap and they’ve got more to empty out but it turns out I didn’t.”
Leeds’s Katy Marchant and Sophie Capewell set a season’s best time of 33.530 in the women’s team sprint but that was only good enough for sixth place on the night.