New Zealand riders Ally Wollaston and Laurence Pithie won titles on day four of the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Germany.

Wollaston from Hamilton won the women’s 2000m individual pursuit by the narrowest of margins, holding off Britain’s Elynor Backstedt in the final by just 0.17 seconds to claim the title after topping qualifiers. She follows the success of Ellesse Andrews who won the world title two years ago in Italy.

Wollaston from Hamilton won the women’s 2000m individual pursuit by the narrowest of margins, holding off Great Britain’s Elynor Backstedt in the final by just 0.17 seconds to claim the title after topping qualifiers. 

The 18-year-old clocked a personal best 2:18.687 to best qualifiers in the morning, setting up a match with Backstedt in the final, where the Kiwi again adopted her daring tactic of starting fast. She was ahead by 1.3 seconds after the first 1000m and was still ahead by 0.8s with one lap to go. The British rider threw everything into her work but came up just short with Wollaston winning in 2:18.900, with a blink to Backstedt.

“It is hard to believe to be honest. After the disappointments of last year, I’ve been working for two years for this,” said Wollaston, who was forced out of the 2018 competition with illness.

“I bloody wanted the title. I know my tactics are a bit unusual and I am walking a fine line but my strength is my speed in the first half of the race. It works for me. 

“I knew I had a lead but my coach Tim Carswell was walking the line and getting closer and closer to the line which showed she was closing.

“I was playing with fire but I got there and with two personal bests today. I was confident of my form and I just couldn’t be happier. It is great to enjoy this with my parents and my sister here. I need to refocus tomorrow and give my best for the Madison.”

Earlier teammate Mckenzie Milne finished seventh in the pursuit, clocking 2:23.657 to be only one second outside the top four.

Pithie started well in his quest in the omnium, finishing fourth in the opening 7.5km scratch race before taking on the Tempo race, comprising a sprint in each of 26 laps after a four-lap start.

Laurence Pithie photo Guy Swarbrick
Laurence Pithie took out the men’s omnium title, photo Guy Swarbrick

The second world title fell to Christchurch’s Laurence Pithie in the four-discipline omnium. Pithie dominated the competition – he was fourth in the scratch race, won the tempo and elimination races and was first equal in the points race.

“It is my weak link in the omnium and one I don’t usually do very well in,” said Pithie.

But he broke clear to win 10 sprints in a row to claim the honours and followed up with a win in the elimination race, where the last rider is eliminated every second lap.

“Today was one of those days when it all went right. I had a great start in the Points race and collected points in each of the first five sprints and from that point on it was a case of just covering wheels. I was absolutely knackered,” said Pithie.

Pithie claimed equal first in the Points race to finish on 129 points overall, which point or two.

“This is a dream come true. It is pretty epic especially the way I managed to win it. I knew I had good legs and I knew after I had 11 and a half hours sleep last night that I was up for it. I am just ecstatic.

“I am going to enjoy this but want to get a good night’s sleep and give things a huge go in the Madison with Kiaan (Watts) tomorrow.”

In other rides Waikato’s Olivia King enjoyed a top-10 finish in the 500m time trial won by Taky Kouame (FRA) while Southland’s Emily Paterson was 16th in the 20km Points race won by Japan’s Tsuyaka Uchino.

Action on the final day of the world championships features King and Paterson in the keirin, Conor Shearing and Keegan Hornblow in the 1000m time trial, Pithie and Watts in the men’s Madison with Wollaston and Eva Parkinson in the women’s Madison.

More to come . . .

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