(L-R) Britain's Katie Archibald, Anna Morris, Elinor Baker, Megan Barker and Josie Knight celebrate on the podium. Pic: Getty Images.

Elinor Barker, Sister Megan, And Anna Morris Strike Gold For GB In World Championships

By David Williams

Elinor Barker admitted to pain before the gain after she and Anna Morris struck gold for Great Britain at the Cycling World Championships.

The Welsh pair – along with semi-final teammate and Barker’s sister Megan – were part of the GB women’s team pursuit who took a magnificent gold medal in a blistering time of 4:08.771, beating New Zealand by over four seconds for the world championship title.

There was little to separate the two teams in the early stages, but the Great Britain team steadily built up a gap, and with a raucous home crowd behind them, they soon had the Kiwis in their sights.

A blistering finish then secured a first women’s team pursuit world title since 2014.

Barker said: “It’s amazing and now I feel like I’ve not ridden at all in a way!

“When you win, it feels like the pain in your legs just disappears somehow. At the time, it was an absolute blur of pain and it was such a relief getting over the line.

“I think this is just such a rare opportunity – the last time we had a home worlds was London, and we missed out then and messed up in the qualifier.”

Barker is appearing at her first global track event since she became a mother after the last Olympics.

After qualifying fastest on Friday, the women’s team pursuit flew into the gold medal race after putting down the fastest overall ride of 4:09.671, beating France by almost three seconds.

Last year’s silver medallists then faced New Zealand in the final race of the night, bringing Katie Archibald back into the quartet in place of Megan Barker, alongside Elinor Barker, Anna Morris and Josie Knight.

Elinor Barker added: “The chance to win at home is so special and I can’t believe we did it. I rode it with my sister Meg and Anna and I went to school together, so what are the chances of that!

“It just feels all very surreal – the chances of any one of us getting here is so slim and the fact that we’ve all known each other from childhood is just bizarre!”

Archibald and Barker were both part of the team when Britain last won the women’s team pursuit world title nine years ago, going on to enjoy Olympic glory in Rio before taking silver in Tokyo.

It was a fifth world title for Archibald, and a hugely poignant one as she races at these championships in her native Scotland to honour her late partner Rab Wardell, who tragically died of a cardiac arrest as he lay in bed last August.

New Zealand were ahead on the time splits for much of the opening 1,500 metres, but a big turn from Knight nudged Britain in front before the midway point.

Archibald then put on the power to open up a two-second advantage before pulling off with a kilometre still to go, the result all but beyond doubt.

Archibald is saving herself for the elimination race and omnium in the coming days, a change to the original plan with Elinor Barker now joining Neah Evans in Monday’s Madison.

 

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