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  • Writer's pictureIzzy Escalera

Track world championships!!

It was doubtful who would head to Egypt for the Track World Championships and so I only found out a few days before flying that I would definitely go. There were only a couple of us going ( 2 girls and 3 boys) so we focused more on the individual races but also the madison. Some people say that it was a missed opportunity in the team events because countries such as Great Britain and Australia weren’t going but, then again we wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of it because of the lack of practice together.

Travelling to Egypt was a whole new experience. The country was nothing like I had ever seen before.

We had to travel by official bus to and from the hotel and velodrome because the roads were just so manic and dangerous.

I was more or less able to choose the races I wanted to do as Ainhoa only wanted to do the madison and Points race, which left me with a variety of races. I regret it now, but instead of picking individual races and focusing on specific ones, I chose 5 events in total (scratch, elimination, omnium, Ip and madison). This meant I was gradually getting more tired and fatigued as the week went on and I was not in shape to make the most of every race I did. Thinking about it, maybe I went more for the experience rather than results, which I believe now was the wrong choice. Normally as a first year, you take as much experience as you can but having missed the majority of first year junior, due to COVID, it was hard to know what races suited me best.

The scratch qualifier did not go to plan, as instead of having a fast paced race to drop some of the riders, I got myself off the front and ended up taking a lap. Although this was a safe approach to qualifying, reflecting now, maybe I used unnecessary energy and was slightly more marked in the final, having won the qualifier. During the final, I attempted to attack but it only lasted a couple of laps and was chased down by Italy and Belgium. Watching the races back, I’ve realised so many tactical errors were made but now I feel more confident and refreshed to race again knowing I will not do the same thing.

Day two came the elimination, of which I was really excited for, especially having missed the race at Euros. I just love the tactical side to the race and how unpredictable it can be. I rode differently to how I normally would, but I think that was because the level was just so much higher than what I was used to. I rode at the bottom behind rider 1 for the beginning parts of the race but as the race went on, I took the opportunity to pass underneath when the rider in front moved up and go to the front so that I was no longer boxed in. I underestimated how tiring it is to maintain first position and so I fatigued quickly. It didn't help that the race was made additionally longer with the neutralised laps from crashes. This time was just as difficult as the actual racing time because people were determined to move up so I had to fight for my position still. I ended up coming 6th after getting caught out but this ended out to be my best result from the week, so I was mostly happy with it... although being a couple places away from a podium.

Next up was the omnium. I don't normally like the omnium because I am not particularly strong at some of the races, however because it is an Olympic event, it is important that I improve so I attempted it. I was only able to achieve a 13th place which was disappointing, but just showed me that I need to get stronger as a rider and show greater consistency across all of the races. I had forgotten how draining omnium day can be and i was left feeling shattered by the end of the day.

Feelings at the end of the omnium, weren't the best sign for the following day’s IP but I had to try and be positive. I got off to a fast start, going off a bit too hard, which left me slowly dying as the effort went on. But I gave it my all and that was all I could do. It is frustrating that I was not fresher on the day because I would class the IP one of my best races but the best l I could come away with was a 8th on a 2:30.734. Some of the performances were crazy, for example the winner from Russia improved her Euros IP time by over 6 seconds in the final!

Last of all was the madison on the final day. It didn't start very well as I crashed within the first 10 laps, when a change above me went wrong, wiping me out, but I got back on soon enough. It was a strange sensation because the last time I had crashed before this was a couple of years back so it was a shock, but the adrenaline got me back on my bike and i was luckily let off easy with the injuries. A combination of the crash and also that our gears were too hard did not give us the best chances but it was another great experience.

Besides the racing, I made some great new friends from different countries! But I have to say it was a shame that we never got to go and see the Pyramids while being in such an iconic destination! During our time in Egypt we had to try and adapt to the different cultures food etc, and the challenges this brought about!! But overall a great experience with great people!

None of this racing would have been possible without the help of everyone around me. From my coach, my family, Pedal potential, the Spanish Federation, the Madrid coaches and everyone back at Herne Hill velodrome who have shaped me as a rider, the biggest thank you! Making it to the European track championships in Apeldoorn was incredible, but then to go on to represent Spain at the track World championships in Egypt was unthinkable!

This season isn’t quite wrapped up for me yet, I still have one more track race, ‘TROFEU INTERNACIONAL CIUTAT DE BARCELONA’. There will be an omnium and madison with under 23 and Elite riders from various countries such as Australia, Italy and Chile. It will definitely be a challenge but hopefully an amazing experience!

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