After the disappointment of the team sprints, both the men and women sprinters showed up a little better on day 3.
For the ladies, Jess Varnish and Victoria Williamson posted excellent qualifying times in the sprint. Varnish, in particular was on form with a 10.804 that has only been bettered by Victoria Pendleton among Brits at sea-level. She qualified sixth and then took the scalp of the great Anna Meares in the second round before falling in two close races to another Australian, Stephanie Morton in the quarters. Williamson exited in the second round after qualifying 11th with another sea-level pb of 10.935. Clearly the track at Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines is a swift one, but even so, both girls put in better performances than on day 1 and provided a glimmer of hope for Rio.
For the men, Callum Skinner and Kian Emadi finished 7th and 12th in the Kilo. Skinner, in particular, went well with a 61.071 – a big sea-level pb while Emadi posted a 61.736, which is very respectable for a man on the comeback trail.
Skinner’s splits show just how disappointing his man 3 showing was on day 1. In the team sprint he struggled to get on to Jason Kenny’s wheel and his 13.798 was just the 14th fastest anchor lap of the day. By contrast, his third lap in the kilo was 13.815, which as the second fastest of the day. Obviously the potential remains for Skinner to post something special in the man 3 role if he can get his start up to scratch. His problems in that area were again revealed in the kilo splits where his first lap of 18.868 was just the 12th best of the day.
Another indication of Skinner’s potential might be seen in the splits of Frenchman Michael D’Almedia who finished sixth just a few hundredths ahead of the Scot in sixth. Skinner lost 0.42 on the first lap but then had the better of the Frenchman on every lap. Indeed he was 0.18 better on the “man 3 lap” against a man who two days earlier was the fastest third-lapper in the team sprint.
Expect to see a strong showing in the 200m TT from Skinner tomorrow, and hopefully a stunning improvement on the final lap of the team sprint in Rio.