Mitchell and Coles-Lyster earn final podium spots in 2022 Champions League
Sarah van Dam finishes season with second place in the scratch race
Kelsey Mitchell and Maggie Coles-Lyster stood on the final podiums at the end of Saturday’s last round of the 2022 UCI Track Champions League in London, England. London hosted back-to-back rounds of the Champions League on Friday and Saturday. Mitchell, who was third in the sprint category last season, was runner up in Saturday’s individual sprint to earn second overall. Maggie Coles-Lyster, fourth overall last year in endurance, claimed third on GC in the final race of the season. Sarah van Dam did well to come runner-up in the day’s scratch event.
The Situation Going into the Last Round
In Friday’s penultimate round, Kelsey Mitchell placed second in the keirin, while Mathias Guillemette was runner-up in the elimination. These results meant that Mitchell was second in the women’s sprint category, 9 points adrift of French leader Mathilde Gros and holding a six-point buffer over Shanne Braspennincx of the Netherlands. Guillemette was in third in men’s endurance, six points behind Claudio Imhof of Switzerland and Sebastian Mora of Spain. Brit Mark Stewart was peeking over Guillemette’s shoulder six points in arrears. Maggie Coles-Lyster, third in Friday’s elimination race and ninth in the scratch, was close to a final podium spot in the women’s endurance category, five points back of Norwegian Anita Stenberg.
Mitchell’s first test in the Lee Valley VeloPark was in the women’s keirin first round. Her heat was packed with tough customers, including Round 3 and 4 winner Steffie van der Peet and Taky Marie-Divine Kouame. Mitchell followed the derny in Position 5 but could not come around van der Peet and Kouame in the final lap. Gros and Braspennincx also made it through, the Dutch rider climbing over the Canadian in the overall standings. Mitchell now had Colombian Martha Bayona breathing down her neck for the final podium spot.
Coles-Lyster’s first chance to run down Stenberg came in the women’s scratch. She started on the blue band and van Dam drifted down from the railing. There were 20 laps of slicing and dicing ahead. Katie Archibald bolted on the others early in the festivities but she was brought to heel. Van Dam tried her luck with Australian Chloe Moran and they had a half lap with 7 circuits to go. The action was too cagey in the peloton to catch them. The Aussie prevailed. Coles-Lyster was fifth and moved a point closer to Stenberg. Van Dam jumped up a few spots to sixth in the GC.
Guillemette and Dylan Bibic’s day began with the men’s scratch. Both joined the race from the railing. A German and a Pole bounced away, but they were pulled back with five circuits remaining. Stewart won, Bibic was fifth and Guillemette sixth. Guillemette fell off the podium.
Mitchell faced her final race of the season. First was the women’s sprint first round. She was matched with Mexican Luz Daniela Gaxiola and had little trouble advancing. They shoved Mitchell in with Bayona and Braspennincx in the women’s sprint semi-final. She was in Position 1 for Lap 1, led at the bell and brought it home to make the final against sprint category winner Gros.
She did it! @gros_mathilde wan the last Sprint of the season against @_kmmitchell and became officially the #UCITCL Women’s Sprint Champion 👑#TrackCycling pic.twitter.com/EnHBEuCZkm
— UCI Track Champions League (@UCITCL) December 3, 2022
It was France vs Canada, world champion vs Olympic Games champion in the women’s sprint final. Mitchell led with one and a half laps to go but Gros nipped her at the line.
It was the last dance for Coles-Lyster and van Dam in the elimination race. Kiwi Emma Cumming was the first to get the yank. Van Dam was the seventh to leave the track. Coles-Lyster and Stenberg made it into the final five. Stenberg was the next to go. Coles-Lyster was third, tying Stenberg on 100 points on GC, but the Canadian would be called third place overall.
Could Guillemette come back in the men’s elimination race, Coles-Lyster style? Like Maggie, he had four points to make up. Dutchman Roy Eefting was the first to feel the hook. Unfortunately, Guillemette was seventh eliminated. His podium bid was over. Bibic hung tough for sixth place. Guillemette came in fifth overall and Bibic eleventh.