By Martyn Herman
BERLIN (Reuters) – Dutchwoman Kirsten Wild claimed an eighth world title in an incident-packed madison race and Germany’s women’s sprint squad struck gold again at the world track championships on Saturday.
Veteran Wild, who surrendered her omnium title on Friday after being penalized for causing a pile-up, combined superbly with Amy Pieters in the head-spinning 30km relay style event.
Wild and Pieters, who won the title last year, avoided several crashes in the race, one of which involved Britain and the United States, neither of whom medaled.
With the women’s madison debuting at the Tokyo Olympics this year, the Dutch duo worked in perfect harmony in a superb demonstration of the event that never disappoints.
They built an early points lead, gathering points in the sprints that occur every 10 laps. France tried to counter-attack but ran out of steam as the Dutch won by a 12-point margin. Italy took the bronze medal.
Wild, 37, who also titled in the scratch race here, has never won an Olympic gold despite a glittering track career but the Tokyo madison represents a chance to fill in that blank.
It is 21 years since Berlin’s velodrome last hosted the world championships and the home crowds have had plenty to cheer, particularly from the young women’s sprint squad.
With German great and Olympic sprint champion Kristina Vogel, paralyzed from the waist down after a training crash in 2018, watching on as the event’s ambassador, the new wave have produced some scintillating performances.
Lea Friedrich, part of the team sprint squad that won gold this week, blasted to the 500m time trial title on Saturday. Last of the eight finalists to push off for two flying laps, the 20-year-old edged out Mexico’s Jessica Salazar with a time of 33.121 at an average of 54kmh.
With young flier Emma Hinze winning the individual sprint on Friday, Germany’s women, who managed only a silver and a bronze in the 2019 world champs, have laid down a marker.
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