SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AFP) — Fernando Gaviria looks set to become one of the hottest properties in cycling after winning the men’s omnium title at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Colombian overcame three former champions to take the victory in the six-discipline event at the national velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, near Paris.
Gaviria is already a known quantity in the professional peloton, having last month beaten 2012 road world champion Mark Cavendish in two sprint finishes at the Tour de San Luis.
Cavendish’s own Etixx-Quick-Step team had the opportunity to sign Gaviria last year but passed it up, something team manager Patrick Lefevere described as a “mistake” after seeing the Colombian beat his own star sprinter at San Luis.
Gaviria led the omnium standings from the second discipline when he finished second in the individual pursuit after a third place in the opening scratch race.
Although he didn’t win any of the six disciplines, the 2012 world junior champion at both the omnium and Madison was the most consistent competitor.
Glenn O’Shea, Australia’s 2012 champion, finished second with Italian Elia Viviani, the star sprinter at Team Sky, coming third.
Gaviria struck early in the final discipline, the points race, gaining a lap to earn 20 points and open up a huge lead on Viviani, who was second at that point.
O’Shea struck next and gained a lap to leapfrog Viviani, but Gaviria’s lead was never in any danger.
The Colombian marked Viviani — who won three of the six disciplines but suffered from lower finishes in the other three — throughout the first half of the points race before turning his attentions to O’Shea once the Aussie moved up to second.
“I’m really happy to have been able to realize a dream that I’ve had for a long time,” said Gaviria.
“Making it come true is really difficult. Thanks to my preparation I’m in the best sporting moment of my career.”
Vogel retains sprint title
Kristina Vogel made up for missing out on a medal in the women’s team sprint by retaining her individual sprint world title.
The Kazakhstan-born 24-year-old beat Elis Ligtlee of the Netherlands in the final, with China’s Zhong Tianshi edging out Stephanie Morton of Australia for bronze.
Vogel beat Ligtlee by the narrowest possible margin in the first of their final runs — an inconclusive photo finish officially giving her the victory by 0.001 second — before taking the second comfortably to win the gold.
Wild scores scratch gold
Ligtlee may have missed out but compatriot Kirsten Wild took gold in the women’s scratch race.
In an event featuring four former champions, Wild took to the front of the 40-lap 10km race with 500m left and held off all challengers to take the title.
Australian Amy Cure won the silver while Canada’s Allison Beveridge, who fell earlier in the race, took bronze after 2010 world champion Pascale Jeuland of France was relegated for entering her opponent’s lane in the sprint finish.
Kueng stuns Bobridge
Switzerland’s Stefan Kueng stunned world record holder Jack Bobridge of Australia to claim the men’s individual pursuit title.
Bobridge, the 2011 champion, was more than 3sec up on Kueng after the first kilometer but the Aussie had gone out too hard and started to wilt as the 4km race entered its second half.
Kueng was gaining back almost half a second a lap and he snatched victory by 0.269 second, thus continuing his progress, having won bronze in 2013 and silver last year.
France’s Julien Morice held off a fast-finishing Alexander Serov of Russia to take the bronze medal.
Kenny crushed in sprint
Earlier in the day, Olympic champion Jason Kenny’s Parisian nightmare ended in abject failure as the Briton was knocked out in the first round of the men’s sprint by Hersony Canelon of Venezuela.
He had also lost in the first round of the keirin and finished a disappointing eighth in the team pursuit.