Dutchman Harrie Lavreysen maintained his stranglehold on track cycling’s sprint discipline as he made it five world titles in succession in the individual event on Monday.
The 26-year-old Olympic champion was in a league of his own again, comfortably beating Trinidad and Tobago’s Paul Nicholas to claim his second gold of this year’s UCI World Championships.
Having powered the Dutch to team sprint gold earlier in the meet and, with the keirin to come on Tuesday, he could leave Glasgow having matched the record 14 world titles of French sprint king Arnaud Tournant.
Host nation Britain also enjoyed another impressive day at the Chris Hoy Velodrome to top the medals table.
Elinor Barker, who returned to the track this year after having a baby, claimed her second medal of the championships as she joined Neah Evans to win a typically chaotic Madison race.
Australia was runners-up, with France third.
Earlier, Ethan Vernon picked himself up off the boards after a crash to win the elimination race meaning Britain’s Olympic squad tops the medals table with four golds, two silvers and a bronze with two days of track action remaining.
While Britain’s team is sending out a powerful statement of intent ahead of next year’s Olympics, for sheer domination of a sport Lavreysen is reaching the kind of levels that golfer Tiger Woods or tennis player Roger Federer used to enjoy.
In the last six editions of the track world championships he has won 13 of the 17 gold medals on offer in sprint, team sprint and keirin and that could rise to 14 of 18 on Tuesday.
He has won five sprint titles in a row, five of the last six in team sprint and three of the last three in keirin.
But his appetite remains insatiable, and woe betide any rider hoping to find a way to stop him as the Paris Games looms.
“I felt really strong this tournament, and it’s taken a lot of energy and a lot of days of consecutive racing,” said Lavreysen, who hit a top speed of 74.5kph during the second heat of the final against Nicholas who was hardly hanging about.
“I hope I can keep this advantage going, I love to sprint,” he told Reuters.
MAN TO BEAT
Lavreysen was denied a sweep of three golds at the Tokyo Olympics when a rare miscalculation in the keirin saw him finish third in a race won by British great Jason Kenny.
Yet in a sport where the margins are so tiny, and duels are often decided by less than a wheel length, Lavreysen’s ability to avoid even the tiniest of mistakes is remarkable.
He says being the man everyone wants to beat drives him on.
“I know I cannot make any mistakes, so that also brings a lot of pressure because I know everybody is hoping I will make a mistake so they can beat me.
“I’m always trying to raise the benchmark.”
Britain’s madison duo of Barker and Evans were two laps from victory in the 120-lap relay-style event when a pile-up meant the race was neutralised as injured riders were attended to.
Race rules meant that nine laps were added on the restart, and Britain suddenly came under attack from Australia and France, but Barker ensured they crossed the line fourth to score the two points that sealed the gold medal.
“My legs are still screaming,” Barker said after adding the madison to the team pursuit gold she won last week.
“We’d lined it up for the last sprint, and I was empty. It felt a bit stressful, to be honest.”
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