UCI Track Champions League 2022 – Despite her victory in the final elimination race held in London, Katie Archibald was unable to retain her position as the women’s endurance champion in the UCI Track Champions League.
In the women’s scratch race held at Lee Valley VeloPark, the 28-year-old Scot from Glasgow reduced the distance on the overall leader Jennifer Valente.
However, Valente finished in second place in the elimination to clinch the overall championship by a margin of three points over Archibald. Valente then decided not to compete in the final sprint.
Mark Stewart and Ollie Wood were the two other winners representing Great Britain on the night.
Archibald, a two-time Olympic winner, stated, “I’ve experienced that sensation here with Laura [Kenny] racing Madisons, but it’s not like an Olympics; it’s so much more with it being in London.” Laura Kenny is the current world record holder in the women’s individual Madison race.
“I can’t even begin to fathom how they must have felt competing in their own Olympics on this velodrome. It’s a sensation that can’t be put into words, and I’m so thankful that I’m one of the few people who can say they’ve had something similar happen to them in their bones.
In the framework of the Champions League, riders who specialise in endurance participate in scratch races and elimination races, while riders who specialise in sprinting compete against one another in keirin and sprints.
After the final two rounds of the series were held on successive evenings in London, much as they were for the first year’s initial series, the winners of the men’s and women’s sprint and endurance competitions were determined and declared champions.
Archibald won the championship in London the year before and entered the last round of this year’s competition eight points behind Valente. Archibald finished third in the women’s scratch race, while Valente finished fourth in the same event.
Despite the fact that the Olympic and world champions had already done enough in the elimination race to claim the 2022 championship before the final sprint, Archibald nevertheless enjoyed celebrating her race win with the support of the audience in her home country.
By winning the scratch race, Stewart moved into contention for the men’s endurance title. His teammate Wood finished third overall, behind the Dutchman Matthijs Buchli.
Stewart, who is 27 years old, stated that “it truly is the nicest sensation I’ve ever had on a bike.” It wasn’t simply the win itself that brought out the crowd; it was the winner.
Because of this, Stewart moved up to third place in the standings, five points behind the leader, Sebastian Mora, and one point behind Claudio Imhof, who is from Switzerland.
Imhof’s second-place finish was enough to gain him the men’s endurance title as he ended level on points with Mora, while Stewart was third in the standings. Wood subsequently won the elimination race to finish fourth overall in the standings, and Imhof’s performance was enough to earn him the title.
Matthew Richardson of Australia prevailed over Harrie Lavreysen of the Netherlands in the men’s keirin to retake the lead in the overall standings from Lavreysen and win the men’s sprint championship by a narrow margin of two points. The competition to become the men’s sprint champion came down to the wire.
In the last competition, the women’s sprint final, Mathilde Gros of France prevailed over Kelsey Mitchell of Canada to claim victory and claim the title of women’s sprint champion.