Peloton Watch
  Emily Nelson Blog: 2016 Under 23 European Championships  
  July 25th By Emily Nelson  
  This year the U23 European Track Championships were in Montichiari, Italy, which is situated very close to Lake Garda. We arrived on Sunday and managed to get some track time to test out what the track was like and ultimately how we felt. I would be riding the team pursuit on the Wednesday with Danni Khan, Manon Lloyd and Emily Kay and the points race on the Thursday. I have raced in a team with both Emily and Manon but never Danni before. She has recently switched to endurance from sprinting so this would be her first team pursuit race!

Monday and Tuesday consisted of a road ride in the morning and then track again in the afternoon. As a four we hadn't ridden together more than a handful of times, so it was good to get a couple of efforts done before we raced the team pursuit.

On Wednesday we didn't race until 3pm so we went out on the road in the morning to open our legs up. After lunch we rode over to the track for the qualifying round. We were third off as GB have never raced an U23 women's team pursuit before! The race went completely to plan and we finished in a 4:25.966, which is the fastest we've ever ridden as a team and a new PB for the Women's Academy. When I finished and looked up at the time I couldn't quite believe it! At the December World Cup in New Zealand we qualified in 4:32.453, so only seven months or so later to be going so much faster was a very big thing for us!

In the final we were racing against Italy who had qualified a respectable time of 4:29.947. We had a little bit of room for mistakes but we desperately wanted to go faster than the qualifier, so our coach Chris Newton walked us on a slightly faster schedule to see what we could do. During my first turn, which was only about five laps in, I could see them out of the corner of my eye, which I think spurred us all on. By the three kilometre mark we had caught Italy and carried on round them for a time. We finished in a 4:24.386 and possibly could have been faster without having to go around the team, which meant that we had another personal best and a time that would have qualified us fifth at the World Championships earlier this year!! To say we were all chuffed is an understatement.

On the Thursday evening I raced the 100 lap points race. This is one of my favourite races, so I was really looking forward to it and hoping to medal. Throughout the race I picked up a lot of sprint points, but with 15 laps to go I was two laps down on the leader and a lap down on four other riders. My chances of getting a medal were literally riding away from me!

I attacked and together with the German rider, Tatjana Paller (who eventually got bronze) we managed to get a lap back on the field. I was knackered, and in joint silver on 33 points with two other riders, and only a few points ahead of the others with the lap. I could hear my coach shouting at me to win the sprint, which would ensure I got the silver medal. I attacked the sprint with two and a half laps to go and held out until the end, to take the five points and my second medal of the championships!

After the racing was over for me, I joined my other teammates on some long miles in the sun, as well as returning to the track each day to support the GB riders!
    Photo: UEC Photo: UEC Montichiari Training    
 © 2016