A sell-out event, the third round of the Revolution series at Manchester’s Velodrome saw a line-up of some of Europe’s elite sprinters and proved to be a thriller.
The evening’s world-class line-up included Olympic champions Philip Hindes, Pete Kennaugh and Ed Clancy and former world champion and man with the most famous thighs in track cycling – Robert Förstemann.
Elite Championship racing kicked off with the Flying Lap – Ross Edgar, who joined IG Sigma sport this year, put in a solid performance to take an early lead with a time of 13.541.
Team Sky rider Pete Kennaugh worked the crowd before his lap, waving and blowing kisses but even with the support of the full house, Edgar still held the lead.
Then came the turn of Revolution favourite Ed Clancy (Rapha Condor JLT) and with an absolute roar of support from the crowd, Clancy powered around the track with an impressive show of speed to take the lead and win with a time of 13.160 – his third consecutive win in the event throughout this season’s Revolution.
The Elimination Race, proved to be a huge crowd pleaser again. The last lap came down to Clancy and Franco Marvulli (Howies), but the Brit pulled away from the Swiss rider coming into the home straight where Marvulli graciously let Clancy take the solo celebration.
In the Points Race Kennaugh, who says he will be focusing on the Giro in the first part of this season, seemed in impressive form.
After grabbing a lap lead before being pulled back, Kennaugh went again with ten laps to go and secured an impressive 28 points – a 13 point victory.
“They all love it at the end of the day so I just play up to it and also it is making the most of the crowd being behind you and I think it is quite good to rally them up,” said Kennaugh, after he threw his bouquet to a girl in the crowd.
Clancy and new Madison partner James McCallum managed a strong performance with a time of 58.364, finishing in fifth place, and he believes the relationship has potential.
“James has been doing a fair bit on the track in Scotland and now he is looking at the Commonwealth games for next year and he has already started that campaign, so it should be alright,” said Clancy.
“I hope for a win in everything, but you have to take a race at a time,” he added.
Team Sky’s Martyn Irvine, riding with Kennaugh, continued their impressive form as the pair entered a new winning time of 57.934.
But Rudy Project riders and four-time winners of the German Madison Championship, Robert Bengsch and Marcel Kalz blasted round the boards in a time of 54.922 – equating to 65kph or 40mph – to win the event.
In an intense Revolution Sprint final Great Britain A rider Callum Skinner faced French rider Francois Pervis, ending in a very tight finish.
Home support for Skinner was in full force as many spectators got to their feet, but a photo finish crowned Pervis winner by less than half a wheel.
Despite best efforts from the crowds, the team sprints saw both Great Britain A and B teams beaten by their French and European All-Stars counterparts – featuring Matt Crampton, Dave Daniel and Förstemann – who took the win by just 0.4 seconds.
Racing between the French and Great Britain A resulted in an even tighter finish where the French team featuring former World Champion Michael D’Almeida, Julien Palma and Francois Pervis took the win by 0.2 seconds.
The Keirin final saw Pervis take another win in a thrilling battle between himself and Förstemann despite the German’s impressive 29 inch leg circumference.
“It is a little bit crazy but I have no problems with it, of course it is crazy but I am happy about it – there is a lot of power inside,” said Förstemann, who admitted finding trousers to fit is difficult.
“At the moment they are a little bit tired because training in the last weeks but I think for the World Championships it will be very fast.”
Overall standings at the end of the third round going into the final round in Glasgow on February 2 remain unchanged with Rapha Condor JLT retaining their lead with 160 points, in second place is Rudy Project with 135 points and in third place is Rouleur with 125 points.