New Zealand team sprint starter Ethan Mitchell has taken his first individual world championship medal. Mitchell disposed of Ryan Owen of Great Britain in two races to secure the bronze medal. Denis Dmitriev defeated Harrie Lavreysen to finally take the long sought for gold medal.
Ethan Mitchell was paired up against Ryan Owens of Great Britain in the bronze medal final of the individual sprint. In the best of three format it would be very interesting to see how the pair of them would fare against each other after both were eliminated in two rounds in the semi-final stage. Mitchell sat in second place in the opening stages of the first heat as Owens kept the pace just a little high in the opening lap.
Gradually the pace ramped up as Ethan Mitchell went high up the track. On the bell the Kiwi struck for home with a powerful kick that saw Owens just left behind. With a very fast final lap of 9.949 seconds Mitchell blew away the Brit to take the first sprint and edge closer to a first ever world championship individual medal.
In the gold medal match it was Denis Dmitriev of Russia vs Harrie Lavreysen of the Netherlands. Dmitriev had been on the podium every year since 2013 in the individual sprint, but had never won. Twice a silver medallist and twice a bronze medallist he went up against the Dutchman who had never medalled in the individual sprint but had earlier been part of the Dutch team’s silver medal in the team sprint.
After a very slow first lap the pace increased with Dmitriev taking the inside line and overtaking the Dutchman on the final turn before the bell and never looking back. Russia took the upper hand in the gold medal final and it looked like Dmitriev might just get his hands on that elusive rainbow jersey at long last.
The second heat saw Mitchell lead against Owens. The riders weaved their way around the track, with Owens determined to take the lead. The pair hugged the top of the track and marked Mitchell from the front, lifting the pace early before the bell lap. But Mitchell was quick to respond and he raced onto the wheel of Owens in no time at all and from there he powered through to take the lead down the down the back straight. He held it on the final turn and secured a brilliant bronze medal just minutes after his teammate Aaron Gate had taken silver in the omnium. It is Ethan Mitchell’s first world championship individual medal.
In the second heat of the gold medal final Lavreysen took the lead and again the pace was set very slowly. Dmitriev was unfazed and manipulated the Dutchman out of the lead and from there it was all about the Russian. Lavreysen was left with too much work to do and Dmitriev raced away to the rainbow jersey; finally taking the title he’d long sought.