Laura Kenny leads Great Britain to third straight team pursuit European title

Rio 2016 gold medallists Kenny and Katie Archibald were part of Britain's winning quartet while Russia took the men's team pursuit on day two of the European Championships in Plovdiv.

By Ken Browne

If Russia dominated Day 1 at the 2020 UEC Track European Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, then Day 2 belonged to Great Britain.

Laura Kenny, Katie Archibald, Josie Knight, and Neah Evans clocked 4:10.437 in the women's team pursuit final, almost exactly two tenths of a second outside Britain's world record set at Rio 2016.

Four-time Olympic Track cycling gold medallist Kenny and Archibald remain from that victorious Rio 2016 quartet, and they beat Italy's Martina Alzini, Elisa Balsamo, Chiara Consonni, and Vittoria Guazzini by three seconds to claim a third consecutive European team pursuit title.

It was a dominant performance and one which shows Britain will be the ones to catch as they seek a hat-trick of titles at Tokyo 2020.

Elinor Barker also won gold in the Rio team pursuit, and she took the women's elimination race to claim her seventh European title.

Russia made it three golds for the event with a narrow victory in the men's team pursuit from Italy.

Their young exciting line-up of Aleksandr Dubchenko, Lev Gonov, Nikita Bersenev, and Alexander Evtushenko, stopped the clock at 3:54.677, just 0.110s ahead of Francesco Lamon, Stefano Moro, Jonathan Milan and Gidas Umbri.

Portugal's Iuri Leitao denied Russia another gold, beating Roman Gladysh to the men's scratch race title.

Barker and Trott revel in British success

Elinor Barker was delighted with her elimination race win, fending off the challenge from Italy's 2017 scratch world champ Rachele Barbiere.

"I'm really happy with it," Barker told British Cycling afterwards. "It went how I hoped. I kind of expected it might be me and Barbiere the Italian girl together at the end and that went how I hoped it would.

"I talked to my roommate Laura Kenny earlier today, and what I planned to do was pin her at the bottom to hopefully take away the speed that she might have from the top, and thankfully it worked."

The 26-year-old from Cardiff spent a lot of time at the head of affairs and revealed, "I wanted to take the front from the start and then it didn't seem like anyone else really wanted to take it away from me!"

Kenny, who now has 14 European titles, was delighted with the team pursuit performance which can only bode well for Tokyo.

She said, "That's the fastest time we've done since Rio so I guess that shows the form that we were in going into an Olympic year. But it's good to know that we are keeping moving forward.

"I personally think we've got a lot more to come. We've got people sat at home itching to get into this team and I think that can only help us move forward." - Laura Kenny to British Cycling

Iuri Leitao: Portugal's podium topper

There was delight too for Portuguese rider Iuri Leitao who carried off the men's scratch title.

Russia's Roman Gladysh was second with Great Britain's Oliver Wood in third.

Leitao said, "It was a really fast race, and then I saw an opportunity to go and I went full gas. I'm so happy to achieve this. Being European champion is a dream to me."


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