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  Elinor Barker wins 2019 scratch race world title  
  February 28th 2019  
  Elinor Barker in her rainbow jersey after winning 2019 scratch race world title. Photo: SWPix  
  Great Britain's Elinor Barker, a three time world champion and Olympic gold medallist surprised herself to add a fourth elite rainbow jersey to her collection winning the women's scratch race in style on the opening day of the 2019 UCI Track World Championships in Pruszkow, Poland.

"I don't think I've ever won a scratch race in my life. I thought I'd timed it ever so slightly wrong, and I've come second in a lot of scratch races. - It feels amazing," a delighted Barker explained.

"This one was a big surprise actually. Everything has been focused on team pursuit, so it is a bit strange to win something that has not been my complete and utter focus for the last few months.

Barker who had already lined up in team pursuit qualifying earlier in the day played a tactical game staying safe in the bunch having agreed with her team not to use too much energy with two rounds of the team pursuit still to come.

"I kind of agreed with me team that I wasn't going to go too hard for too long and I was going to save everything for the last two laps," Barker said.

With just under two laps to go a huge turn of speed saw her storm to the front. Hitting out early Barker was able to avoid a crash that took down half the field and open her sprint to clear track. With defending champion Kirsten Wild on her wheel Barker was forced to use every bit of speed in her legs but the 24-year-old was able to hold off the Dutchwoman to claim the title.

Elinor Barker cannot believe it. Photo: SWPix

"It worked out really well for me and I got to take advantage of a bit of a lull and go from the safety of the back where I was being quite cautious and trying to stay out of trouble strait to the front and take the race on.

With her focus on the team pursuit Barker was able to approach the scratch race with a more relaxed attitude one she credits with helping her to victory.

"I felt really relaxed today. This race is kind of a funny one for me as it lies in the middle of the team pursuit rounds. I raced qualifying earlier and I'll race the first round and finals tomorrow, so I felt relaxed because the pressure was off."
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