November 11, 2023
UCI Track Champions League 2023 – London, UK 🇬🇧
The Track Champions League (TCL) is a new event looking to revolutionise and revive the sport of track cycling.
November 11, 2023
UCI Track Champions League 2023 – London, UK 🇬🇧
The Track Champions League (TCL) is a new event looking to revolutionise and revive the sport of track cycling. With a focus on fast-paced, easy-to-understand races, this event is perfect for newcomers to the sport, as well as diehard fans. The league comprises five international rounds held over three action-packed weeks. Riders earn points through their results in these events. Points accumulate over the five weeks and, at the end, those with the most will be declared the winners of their respective Sprint League or Endurance League. Whatsmore, prize money for both men and women across the competitions is equal!
After five gripping rounds of racing across four countries, Ellesse Andrews (New Zealand), Katie Archibald (Great Britain), Dylan Bibic (Canada) and Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) have all been crowned winners of the 2023 UCI Track Champions League.
Lavreysen and Archibald held the leader’s blue jersey from beginning to end in the Men’s Sprint and Women’s Endurance competitions respectively.
Lavreysen rounded off his season in style, winning the Keirin after finishing runner up in the Sprint, while Archibald took fourth in the Scratch and third in the Elimination. The duo’s performances ensured they reclaimed the titles they both won for the first time back in 2021.
Bibic meanwhile, took four victories on the way to his first Men’s Endurance crown, and despite not winning in the Grand Finale, the 20 year old wrapped up the overall title by finishing sixth in the Scratch and 11th in the Elimination.
It was Andrews though, who was the star performer on the night. The New Zealander rounded off her debut UCI Track Champions League campaign by winning both Women’s Sprint and Keirin.
As well as being awarded their jerseys, that quartet also received the coveted UCI Track Champions League trophy and equal prize money totalling €25,000 per rider.
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
All the athletes put on yet another incredible show in front of a sell-out crowd of over 5,500 fans for the second successive night inside the iconic Lee Valley VeloPark.
Mark Stewart and William Perrett were the first riders to have the fans on their feet in the Men’s Scratch. The duo worked their way into a four-man breakaway and then Stewart outsprinted his Great Britain team-mate to repeat the victory he achieved in London last season.
The British winning streak continued in the Women’s Scratch with Neah Evans leaving her two breakaway rivals in the dust in the final lap before wrapping up a comfortable success.
Harrie Lavreysen had already wrapped up the blue jersey by the time he’d made it into the Men’s Sprint final but that didn’t stop Matthew Richardson (Australia) giving his all to beat the 13-time UCI World Champion after another titanic battle between the pair.
In the Women’s Sprint, Ellesse Andrews reigned supreme over Martha Bayona, distancing the Colombian in the final lap before pressing home her advantage in style.
When attentions turned back to the Endurance riders, Jules Hesters and Tuur Dens produced a Belgian masterclass in the Men’s Elimination. The duo went wheel-to-wheel in the final two but Dens proved the stronger finisher, pulling clear of birthday boy Hesters in the last lap to secure a comprehensive win.
Lara Gillespie (Ireland) caused something of a surprise in the Women’s Elimination. Her and Anita Stenberg (Norway) knocked Katie Archibald out in the final three and then Gillespie produced a stinging late charge to distance Stenberg before crossing the line to the delight of the Irish fans.
The season then reached its finale with the two Keirin finals. In the Men’s, Lavreysen and Richardson proved dominant once again, pulling away in the last lap before Lavreysen pipped his great accomplice for his seventh success of the season, amassing an all-time record total of 191 points in the process.
Andrews then brought the house down by producing one last supreme performance, leading out from the front and powering to her sixth win of the series.
ALL THE REACTION FROM ROUND 5:
Men’s Endurance winner Dylan Bibic (Canada) said: “I came here to win and it feels good to have achieved that goal. I’ve been in defence mode for these last two rounds and did what I had to do. After I’d sealed my overall win in the Scratch, it meant I could mess about a bit in the Elimination and have fun, and it’s been nice to round off the season that way.”
Men’s Sprint winner and tonight’s Keirin winner Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) said: “I’m really happy to have claimed the overall win and the good vibes here in London were crazy. I had a big lead heading into tonight and that meant I could enjoy it. I made a tactical mistake in the Sprint final but made up for it in the Keirin. A lot happened in that race. Matthew [Richardson] surprised me a little bit by taking the front but I gave it my all and I was really happy I could overtake him. It’s been a good battle between us and we’re probably going to have a lot more battles in the future.”
Women’s Sprint winner and tonight’s Sprint and Keirin winner Ellesse Andrews (New Zealand) said: “I couldn’t have wished for a better night. I tried to push the pace in the Sprint final and keep Martha [Bayona] on the front. I wanted to come from behind so I’m really happy with how that one played out. Then, my main goal for the Keirin final was to leave it all out on the track and fully empty the tank. I did that and it feels special to have won twice tonight in front of such a massive crowd. I’d loved this season so much and it feels quite surreal now it’s over. It’s been a great experience.”
Women’s Endurance winner Katie Archibald (Great Britain) said: “It’s been an exceptional season and the highlight has definitely been my Elimination battles with Anita [Stenberg]. She didn’t get her win but she’s got a lot of fight and I look forward to seeing a lot more of her. I’ll have a big reset after this and enjoy my Christmas, and it’s been great to end my year on a high in front of this incredible crowd.”
Men’s Scratch winner Mark Stewart (Great Britain) said: “Up until about six laps to go, that was the easiest race I’d done. It was so cagey so I decided to watch William [Tidball] and Sebastián [Mora], because I was sure they’d attack, and it worked. To win here is the highlight of my year. I rode the UCI Track Champions League last year and came back this year because I enjoyed it so much, and this is the perfect way to round things off.”
Women’s Scratch winner Neah Evans (Great Britain) said: “That race was cagey at the start and then full on at the finish. I was aware breaks can go with about seven laps to go and I was ready when it did. I’m made up to have won in front of a home crowd, it’s so special and the atmosphere here tonight has been amazing.”
Men’s Sprint winner Matthew Richardson (Australia) said: “I’m trying to use these rides to gain as much experience as possible, and that final was no different. I didn’t like my position so tried to switch things up and then the rest was instinctive. It worked out and feels good to have won. I regained my confidence in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and was happy with how I raced yesterday, and did even better today. It’s a shame I couldn’t defend my overall title but I’ve shown I’m the only one that can really beat Harrie [Lavreysen] in a one-on-one race right now, and that’s a huge confidence boost heading into the Olympics.”
Men’s Elimination winner Tuur Dens (Belgium) said: “It was a stressful start with the two restarts but once it got going I felt really good and wasn’t ever in trouble. To sprint against Jules for the win was like a Belgian dream come true, and it felt amazing to win. This has been a mixed series for me but it’s nice to have ended it on a high.”
Women’s Elimination winner Lara Gillespie (Ireland) said: “That was a fun race and there was a nice amount of space to move around. I felt tired with about seven laps to go but I kept telling myself ‘I can do it’. I was confident, and am really happy to have won. I knew this was coming because every race I was feeling better and better, so I’m happy to leave the series on a good note. This campaign has been invaluable for me and the best thing I could have done. It’s allowed me to get racing experience against the best riders in the world, and has been epic.”
Florian Pavia, Series Director of the UCI Track Champions League, said: “This season has been a huge success. The racing has been exciting from beginning to end and I think we’ve found a good formula with the format in 2023.
“As well as legends like Harrie [Lavreysen] and Katie [Archibald] proving they are right at the top of their game, we’ve also seen new stars like Ellesse Andrews and Alessa-Catriona Pröpster emerge, and that’s been fantastic to see.
“The UCI Track Champions League is fully established in the elite track cycling calendar now and that’s been reflected by more and more fans turning out to watch the action. Take Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, where we had almost 4,000 spectators in the velodrome. And here in London as well, we’ve enjoyed two sold-out nights with 11,000 fully engaged fans cheering the riders on each evening. I’m incredibly proud of how things have gone and want to thank the riders for putting on a tremendous show.”
Harrie Lavreysen concluded his historic UCI Track Champions League with an emphatic win in the Keirin, starting from the back and powering past all his rivals with a peak power of 2,122 watts.
The Dutch star has accumulated 191 points this year (95.5% of the maximum up for grabs), breaking the record set by Matthew Richardson in 2022 (183 pts). A star of the series since its inception of 2021, Lavreysen has accumulated 519 points over three years, more than any other contender (Katie Archibald is the next best with 463).
Tonight, Lavreysen hit three of the top five power peaks he’s ever recorded in the UCI Track Champions League:
– 2,295 watts in the Sprint final
– 2,135 watts in the Sprint first round
– 2,122 watts in the Keirin final
For the first time this season (and only the third time in the history of the UCI Track Champions League), Katie Archibald didn’t win the Elimination. Lara Gillespie hit a massive heart rate of 205 beats per minute to triumph and take her first victory of the series.
Ellesse Andrews was extraordinarily powerful and consistent through the night to win both the Women’s Sprint and Keirin with maximum heart rates of 197 bpm (Sprint first round), 199 (Sprint semi-final), 201 (Sprint final, 201 (Keirin first round) and 203 (Keirin final). Her peak power of 1,480 watts in the Keirin semi-final had already secured her the overall win but she still pushed 1,436 watts in the final to finish her season off in spectacular fashion. She is the first winner of the UCI Track Champions League hailing from New Zealand.
Mark Stewart pushed up to 193 bpm (his second highest heart rate of the season) to win the Men’s Scratch from a small breakaway, just like he did last year. A few metres behind, Dylan Bibic was doing 200 bpm in the peloton to finish sixth in that race and all-but seal the Men’s Endurance title. He is the first Canadian winner in the history of the competition, and the youngest.
Sprint / Men / First Round
Sprint / Women / First Round
Scratch / Men
Sprint / Men / Semi Finals
Sprint / Women / Semi Finals
Scratch / Women
Sprint / Men / Final
Sprint / Women / Final
Elimination / Men
Keirin / Women / First Round
Keirin / Men / First Round
Elimination / Women
Keirin / Women / Final
Keirin / Men / Final