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Mitchell earns overall podium spot in inaugural track Champions League

Olympic Games gold medallist was runner-up in sprint and keirin in London's final round

Kelsey Mitchell finished the inaugural UCI Track Champions League on Saturday by standing on the final podium of the women’s sprint classification. By placing second in both Saturday’s individual sprint and keirin, Mitchel came third overall in the classification. Maggie Coles-Lyster’s third in the scratch and seventh in the elimination earned her fourth overall in the endurance classification. The final two rounds were Friday and Saturday in London’s Lee Valley Velo Park after what was supposed to be the last round in Tel Aviv, Israel was cancelled on Thursday due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

What happened on Friday

The Canadians were looking to go out on a strong note Saturday, as Friday’s results were a bit disappointing after two wins in the first round and two runner-up spots in the second.

On Friday Mitchell went from second to third in the women’s sprint classification, having made the second round of the individual sprint. Lauriane Genest crashed out of her keirin with Emma Hinze and took no points, so she stayed at ninth in the classification. Coles-Lyster was second in the endurance classification after two rounds, but 14th in the scratch and eighth in the elimination meant that she bounced down to fourth overall. Hugo Barrette was 12th overall in the Men’s Sprint Champions League overall standings after Friday, the only Canadian to move up the rankings after the third round.


The last day kicked off with the women’s individual sprint first round. No doubt sore from her Friday crash, Genest drew Mathilde Gros of France and Japan’s Riyu Ohta in Heat 2. Neither Genest nor Ohta could get around Gros, who went to the front early. Mitchell was matched with Italian Miriam Vece and Russian Anastasiia Voinova. Like Gros, Mitchell went to the front and held off her challengers. She was through to the semi-finals.

Mitchell holds off Vece and Voinova in the individual sprint first round.

Barrette was next up in the men’s keirin first round. In the Canadian’s Heat 1 sextet was Dutch ace Harrie Lavreysen, the sprint classification leader. Levreysen grabbed the derny’s wheel, with Barrette tail gunner Charlie. Barrette went from far out and looked good going into the final corner, but he couldn’t keep his lead and he didn’t go through. He picked up 8 points though.

Unfortunately, Barrette’s brave long range move in his keirin heat came to naught.

Mitchell was back in the women’s sprint semi-finals. She was in Heat 2 versus Lea Sophie Friedrich and Gros. Friedrich wanted the front before Gros attacked from far out. The Canadian went around the outside and just pipped Friedrich to meet another German, Hinze, in the final. Barrette and Genest celebrated in the infield.

Mitchell pips Friedrich in the sprint semi.

It was Coles-Lyster’s time. The first women’s endurance race was the scratch. Off went 18 riders for 20 laps. Women’s endurance classification leader Katie Archibald attacked on the sixth lap. Coles-Lyster, Kirsten Wild and two others joined the move, but it was brought back. A Spaniard did a flier with 9 laps to go and then Japanese rider Yumi Kajihara took over. Archibald was runner-up and Coles-Lyster came third. Archibald nailed down the first women’s endurance crown.

Mitchell vs Hinze

These two were well acquainted. It was cagey stuff over the first lap with the German in Position 1. Mitchell just could not come around Hinze, but only lost by half a wheel.

It was another close one with a German, but this time Mitchell was second best.

It was no rest for the wicked as Barrette was back in action in the men’s sprint first round. The Canadian had Levreysen and John Spies of South Africa as competition, and there was no stopping the Dutchman, who had already wound up the men’s sprint classification after the keirin. Barrette would come 14th overall in the men’s sprint classification.

No one knows better than Barrette that it’s very hard to beat Harrie Levreysen.

Mitchell and Genest weren’t finished yet. They were due to follow the derny in the women’s keirin first round. Among those joining Genest in Heat 2 were Friedrich, Ohta and Gros. Genest was at the rail. Friedrich was first in the string until the derny pulled off. Another Japanese rider, Mina Sato, went to the front with Ohta and held off the others. Genest was fifth. Mitchell was also at the rail in Heat 3 and took the caboose spot in the train. She had little trouble moving on to the final.

Coles-Lyster’s bid for the endurance classification podium depended on how well she did in the women’s elimination, the race of the dreaded blinking lights. The Canadian was the eleventh eliminated.

The women’s keirin final pitted Mallorca champion Mitchell against the powerful Germans Hinze and Friedrich, along with Sato, Olena Starikova of the Ukraine and a Colombian. Mitchell nabbed the derny’s wheel. The derny peeled off and with two laps remaining Starikova attacked. Nobody had the power to bring back the Ukrainian, but Mitchell was the runner-up, securing her third place overall.

Mitchell was second to Starikova in the keirin final.

2021 UCI Track Cycling Champions League Final Standings
Women’s Sprint Classification:
1) Emma Hinze (Germany) 128 points
3) Kelsey Mitchell (Canada) 102 points
9) Lauriane Genest (Canada) 52 points

Men’s Sprint Classification:
1) Harrie Lavreysen (The Netherlands) 147 points
14) Hugo Barrette (Canada) 14 points
Women’s Endurance Classification:
1) Katie Archibald (Great Britain) 145 points
4) Maggie Coles-Lyster (Canada) 94 points
Men’s Endurance Classification:
1) Gavin Hoover (USA)