Junior/U23 European Track Cycling Championships

John Paul | Thursday 4th August, 2011

Hi everyone, the Junior/U23 European Track Cycling Championships was a great success for me, I don’t think it’s quite sunk in that I’m a double European Champion, training has been going well and I felt pretty good out in Portugal particularly a couple of days before the sprint competition my training times were very encouraging. I qualified 4th quickest and safely progressed through the early knockout stages into the quarter finals where I faced a Spanish rider, I came through that 2-0 and was now into the semis next day. In the semis I had drawn the number one seed Max Niederlag from Germany, I was a little nervous but had a great first ride winning by a clear bike length and this gave me confidence going into the next ride which I won to win 2-0 and go into the final. In the final my opponent was the current junior world record holder Nikita Shurshin from Russia, I led out the first ride and held him off my hip to win fairly comfortably and by now my confidence was increasing and I knew one more good ride and I would be European champion, the Russian led out the next race but was not keen to stay at the front so after a lap I decided to take the front and go for it winning by half a wheel, 2-0 and I was now the sprint champion, I was absolutely delighted, I felt very proud on the podium listening to the national anthem. 

I had a rest day before the Keirins, I woke up on the Sunday morning and was not feeling that well, a couple of quick trips to the toilet, not sure if I had some bad food or I was a little bit nervous or a combination of both. In the 1st round two qualify through to the semis everyone else goes into the reps, unfortunately I was 3rd by quarter of a wheel and had to face the dreaded reps, my legs had felt a bit weak in the ride however, I had time to re-focus and concentrate on the rep to try and get back into the competition, I won my rep and progressed through to the semis which was ln the afternoon, by the time the semi finals arrived I was feeling much better and decided to go for it to reach the final, I won the semi and now only had the final to go. In the final I found myself 4th in line out of six, as the bike pulled off nobody was making a move, we were now under two laps to go and the French rider Palma went for it followed closely by the German Niederlag, I quickly followed the train and waited until 200m to go and went for it round bends 3 and 4 to win by a clear bike length and add the Keirin title to my Sprint title, I was really chuffed and delighted to win another medal. 

I’d like to thank Braveheart for the funding which helps towards my travelling expenses getting me to training and competitions and to all the people who has supported me and sent congratulations, it means a lot to me knowing I have so many supporters who believe in me. 

Next up is the Junior World Champs in Moscow 16th – 21st August, hopefully I can keep my form and try to be on the podium again, Cheers, JP

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