Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Kirsten Wild has closed an incredible World Track Championships, in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, with a third Rainbow Jersey as she took a dominant victory in the Points Race. The 35-year-old from nearby Almelo won five of the ten sprints, and took points on two of the others, to finish with a total of 49 points, six ahead of the United States’ Jennifer Valente, and 19 ahead of Canada’s Jasmin Duehring.
“It’s amazing. I couldn’t wish for this before,” she said afterwards. “I never thought about this before. I said to my boyfriend that I hoped I would win one jersey, and now I come home with three!”
The Points Race victory follows a Scratch Race win on the Championships’ opening day, a win in Thursday’s Omnium and a Silver Medal in the Madison on Saturday.
“I think the Scratch just all went really well, and the Omnium was also okay,” Wild explained. “In the Madison we were a bit surprised by the British girls, with [Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Katie Archibald]; they were so fast. They had a really good technique, so we were a bit shocked.
“Today I didn’t know what to expect. I felt a bit tired from all the races, but in the race I thought ‘I feel okay.’”
There was a big, mid-race attack from Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s defending champion Elinor Barker - who had sat out Saturday’s Madison after a crash in the Omnium - which Wild followed with a number of others. This break eventually came to nothing, but the Dutchwoman was later able to gain a lap with several of the other favourites.
“My tactics were to try to get points - easy points - like second is also okay in the sprints, and if it’s necessary I have to be able to follow a group,” Wild explained. “I just gambled a bit on both and then halfway we just decided if we go for a lap or go for the points. And now it was go for the points.
“It was just the group after the sprint. There was just a gap in the peloton, it was not really by an attack, it was just by a gap and all the favourites watched each other and controlled each other.
“I think a few times Elinor had to chase, and some of the girls had to chase, but I tried to stay a bit in the front so I didn’t have to put too much energy into chasing groups.”
Wild winning the penultimate sprint made it mathematically impossible for Valente to catch up on the final finish line, and left no time for her to take a lap.
Having previously won the Scratch Race World title in 2015, along with several National and European titles, Wild leaves Apeldoorn with three Rainbow Jerseys. To achieve this on her home track, with her family and friends cheering her with “Wild van Kirsten” t-shirts made it all the more special.
“It’s really, really cool,” she laughed. “When I heard that the Worlds would be in Apeldoorn, I thought that must be so amazing. We had it in 2011 also, so I knew a bit what to expect, but it was more than I expected. It was really special.
“Especially the last ten laps of the Points Race!” she added. “I was already sure for the win, and I think I could only smile, it was a really crazy feeling!”
1. Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)
2. Jennifer Valente (United States)
3. Jasmin Duehring (Canada)
12. Elinor Barker (Great Britain)
photo Cheltenham jockey club
photo Cheltenham Racecourse