Elinor Barker banked two more gold medals at the UCI World Cup in Manchester to underline her status as arguably British cycling’s top female rider.
She teamed up with Katie Archibald to win the Madison on Saturday and then a day later jumped into the Team Pursuit quartet to storm to another Team GB golden success in front of a packed house at the Manchester velodrome.
Barker and Archibald were joined by Neah Evans and Emily Nelson in the final against Italy and they recorded their fastest women’s team pursuit time since their world record-breaking exploits in last year’s Olympic final. They won in a time of 4:16.803, compared to the world record set by Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Archibald and Barker of 4:10.236 in Rio, to win by five seconds.
Emily Kay and rising Welsh star Manon Lloyd had stepped in for Archibald and Barker in the earlier rounds to help Britain beat Belgium to book their place in the final.
“I certainly wasn’t expecting that, I thought we’d maybe break 4:18. I’ve not seen the split but that will be one of the fastest times we’ve done outside of the Olympics and I think that’s a really nice statement to be able to put out at this point in the cycle,” said Barker.
Barker had won the silver medal in the Madison a week earlier with Emily Nelson and went one better on her home track. She and Archibald were up against Belgian world champions Lotte Kopecky and Jolien D’Hoore, but the British duo won three of the first four sprints.
The Belgians showed their class, though, coming back into the race to give themselves a chance of winning due to the double points on offer in the final sprint. They crossed the line first, but Archibald was hot on the heels of D’Hoore to ensure that she and Barker took gold by a two-point margin.
In the Women’s Sprint, Rachel James was edged out by Katy Marchant as the Welsh rider picked up some more invaluable international experience.