UCI Track Champions League 2022: Katie Archibald’s London win not enough to retain endurance title

Katie Archibald
Katie Archibald clinched the inaugural women’s endurance title in London last year

Katie Archibald relinquished the women’s endurance title in the UCI Track Champions League despite winning the final elimination race in London.

The Scot, 28, closed the gap on overall leader Jennifer Valente in the women’s scratch race at Lee Valley VeloPark.

But Valente took second in the elimination to secure the overall title by three points from Archibald and chose not to contest the final sprint.

Mark Stewart and Ollie Wood were the other British winners on the night.

Two-time Olympic champion Archibald said: “I’ve experienced that feeling here with Laura [Kenny] racing Madisons, but it’s not like an Olympics, it’s so much more with it being in London.

“I can’t imagine what they felt experiencing a home Olympics in this velodrome. It’s an experience you can’t describe and I’m so grateful I’m one of a handful of people who have felt something like that in my bones.”

The Champions League format sees endurance riders compete in scratch and elimination races and sprint riders go up against each other in keirin and sprints.

The men’s and women’s sprint and endurance champions were crowned after the last two rounds of the series were held on successive nights in London, as they were for last year’s inaugural series.

Archibald clinched the title in London last year and came into this year’s final round eight points behind Valente and came third in the women’s scratch race, with Valente fourth.

The Olympic and world champion had done enough in the elimination race to secure the 2022 title before the final sprint but Archibald still enjoyed celebrating her race win with the home crowd.

Stewart thrust himself into contention for the men’s endurance title by winning the scratch race, with team-mate Wood third behind the Dutchman Matthijs Buchli.

“That genuinely is the best feeling I’ve ever had on a bike,” said Stewart, 27. “Not just the win but the win induced the crowd.”

That took Stewart into third in the standings, five points behind leader Sebastian Mora and one behind Switzerland’s Claudio Imhof.

Wood then claimed victory in the elimination race to finish fourth in the final standings, and Imhof’s second place was enough to earn him the men’s endurance title as he finished level on points with Mora, while Stewart was third.

The battle to become the men’s sprint champion went down to the wire with Australia’s Matthew Richardson beating Harrie Lavreysen in the men’s keirin to take the overall lead back from the Dutchman and win the title by just two points.

Mathilde Gros of France beat Canada’s Kelsey Mitchell in the final event, the women’s sprint final to clinch the women’s sprint title.

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