Elinor Barker admitted she was seeing stars through fatigue after she rode to the rescue of British cycling on Sunday.
The Welsh rider celebrated St. David’s Day in style as she underlined his status as a gold medal Olympic contender for Tokyo later this year by delivering a sensational ride in the points race on the final day of the world championships in Berlin.
Great Britain had endured a worrying championships, seen as a dress rehearsal for this year’s Tokyo Olympics, with only three medals, none gold, over the first four days, leaving them 10th in the medals table.
But Barker – a world champion in Poland last year – produced a superb late solo attack in the 25km event to gain a lap on her rivals, securing a crucial 20 points that fired her to the top of the leaderboard.
American Jennifer Valente, part of the gold-medal winning team pursuit squad, had looked on course for another title but did not have enough laps left to launch a counter-attack and had to settle for the silver.
“It’s still incredible,” said Barker, adding that in her audacious late attack she had emptied the tank.
“I wanted to have some more energy to at least get involved in another sprint after I got a lap, but I had absolutely nothing left, I was seeing stars,” she added.
@elinorbarker picked a good day to become a World Champion
After a superb ride in the points race, Barker took home the
All the more reason to celebrate St David’s Day
— Welsh Cycling (@WelshCycling) March 1, 2020
“I couldn’t even entirely tell who the four at the front were, I just had my fingers crossed that they didn’t get the lap or anything. The plan would have been to have a few more beans at the end but it went as well as it possibly could.”
Norway’s Anita Yvonne Stenberg was third, while Dutch veteran Kirstin Wild, bidding for a third gold of the week, was well placed in third spot but a crash scuppered her chances of adding to her haul.
Last year in Poland, Barker was the saving grace for the GB team, delivering the only gold in the scratch race.
The 25-year-old was part of the team crushed by the United States in the team pursuit final earlier this week and finished a disappointing sixth in the Madison on Saturday when team mate Neah Evans was involved in a crash.
She was ecstatic 24 hours later though, even if acknowledging that points race is not at Olympic discipline.
Barker, an Olympic gold medalist in the team pursuit in Rio, ensured Britain bagged at least one gold medal from the championships, as she did last year in the scratch race.
The last time Britain did not win a world gold was in 2015.