Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Jolien D’hoore cruised to victory in the Madison race, along with partner Lotte Kopecky, in the first round of the 2017/18 UCI Track World Cup, in Pruszkóv, Poland. The two Belgians, clad in the Rainbow Jerseys that they took at the World Championships, in Hong Kong in April, finished the 20km event with a total of 29 points, beating the Great Britain duo of 2018 Wiggle High5 signing Elinor Barker and Emily Nelson into second place with 23.
The Italian team of Maria Giulia Confalonieri and Elisa Balsamo took the bronze medal with 13 points.
“For me personally, it was my hardest Madison ever!” D’hoore laughed. “I’ve had a three-week break and this is my third week on the bike so I haven’t done a lot of raining yet. It was quite hard for me, the intervals… but we managed it and our technique was good, and that helps a lot.
“It’s four out of four now, so we’re very pleased with it,” she added, referring to the fact that she and Kopecky remain undefeated in major Madisons together. “We just still want to learn a lot, and we want to grow, and hopefully we can achieve some great results together.”
After having taken second place in the opening sprint - behind another 2018 Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling rider, Kirsten Wild, and Nina Kessler of the Netherlands - D’hoore and Kopecky took the lead on the second sprint and never again looked threatened. Barker and Nelson tried to take a lap midway through the race, but only succeeded in lifting themselves into the Silver Medal position behind the Belgians.
A late attack from Barker then earned the British pair ten points in the final sprint, but second place for D’hoore saw the Belgians take victory by their comfortable margin.
“Every race the level is going up. We’re going faster and faster, and the technique is getting better. I think the other countries will invest in the Madison, so we will see some great battles in the future.”
Aside from their still-perfect record in the Madison at the top level, the Pruszkóv race was the first for the Belgian pair in their World Championship rainbow jerseys.
“The plan was to start in Manchester next week, but Lotte asked me to race already in Poland because we are wearing the World Champion’s jersey,” D’hoore explained. “At first I didn’t know - I’m not in great shape, and if you’re wearing the jersey you have to show yourself - but I managed it and I’m really happy!”
1. Belgium (Jolien D’hoore, Lotte Kopecky)
2. Great Britain (Elinor Barker, Emily Nelson)
3. Italy (Maria Giulia Confalonieri, Elisa Balsamo)
photo Getty Images