Chris Latham - riding for Great Britain in the Junior European Track Championships - July 2011 - Portugal
I was proud to be riding for the Junior GB Team at the Track Euros in Portugal. Proud too, to come back with the gold medal for the Team Pursuit for which I was 5th man, and got to ride in the final. The day of the Team pursuit and the lads qualified 1st, not that far ahead of the Russians, we were all convinced the the Russians held something back in their ride, because they went off last so Matt decided it would be better to replace Josh Papworth with me just to get some fresh legs into the final. We set off and the Russians were out for the catch putting a couple of seconds into us in the first kilo, but at the half way point they started to tire and coming into the last kilo we could nearly see them we knew we had won, 3 laps to go and I blew so I did my last turn and swung up shouting 3 to the rest of my team for them to do the last 3 laps, and we got the Gold! Great Britain European Junior Team Pursuit Champs!
The day before the team pursuit, Matt Winston, our coach says to me, 'chances are, you’re not going to get a ride in the team pursuit, so do you want to ride the kilo on Wednesday, you have a good chance', so I said yes I will do it, its all more experience.
So my next event was the kilo, I didn’t think four laps could be that hard but the last time I did one, was in an omnium a few years ago and I'd forgot how hard they actually were, when at the end of the first lap, I was absolutely nailed. I came in tenth overall, which too wasn’t bad compared to the size of the lads I was up against, I couldn’t believe they were my age. They're all sprinters and trained for the kilo!
Then came the scratch race, which if it came down to a sprint I knew I had a good chance of getting a medal, plus it was only 40 laps so that made it easier. The qualifying heat wasn't hard, that was only 30 laps in which I qualified 4th and the final was a couple of hours later. A few riders tried to get away but in 40 laps when everybody is fresh it would be really hard to do so. 5 laps to go and a French rider attacked nobody wanted to take up the chase with only 5 laps to go, including me, so we left him and a few nations chased which sped up the last 4 laps. I was about 5th with 2 laps to go and did a big effort to get to the front so when the bell rang I was on the front but a Spanish guy followed me and got the jump on me, I probably should have let him past and come round but with the adrenalin rush I held my line on the black. When he was on the red and coming out of the turn he shut me down, pushing me onto the blue and I fell off instantly with only half a lap to go. Its pointless saying it now, but I could have got silver. I was more bothered because that was the only chance I had of getting an individual medal, but as they say ‘s*** happens’.
The madison was on Sunday, I was paired with Josh Papworth. We came 2nd in the qualifier of 60 laps, then a few hours later we had the final, which was 120 laps, if you were not in the first 5 riders it was hard and carnage. We didn’t really set out to go for any sprints, just watching out for the lap that would almost certainly go and of course we did miss it and 4 teams were off the front. With the other GB team Sam Lowe and Jon Dibben and another team in the middle which meant we could really chase, otherwise we are working against the other GB team, so we had to sit put which was hard enough and eventually the team other GB team got brought back, but it was to late, 4 teams had a lap and we had missed out on all the points at stake, so we just went for the last sprint and won which put us 7th. We weren't really pleased with that result but we did the best that we could which is what counts.
It was a great opportunity to ride in Portgual - probably the biggest event I've done. It was great to be part of the GB team, and learn what it's like to be part of THE team.
Chris was riding his Planet X Track Bike, order yours here...
16 August 2011