ELINOR Barker cast aside her bridesmaid tag to win Track Cycling World Championships gold in Hong Kong.
After claiming her second silver medal of the week in the Madison with Emily Nelson on Saturday, Barker (right) took to Twitter, writing: “First the worst second the best! #bridesmaid.” The 22-year-old Cardiff racer was given a solo focus here and delivered gold at the final attempt.
Britain finished the five-day event with five medals, two of them gold, and joint fourth on the medal table with Germany. Australia led the way with three golds and 11 medals in all. Barker emulated fellow team pursuit Olympic champion Katie Archibald’s omnium win on Friday.
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Asked if the old phrase still applied, she said: “No! At least I didn’t get third. I’ve come so close so many times. I feel like I’m a constant bunch race bridesmaid.”
It was touch and go in the 100-lap [25-kilometres] points race. Sarah Hammer of the United States made an audacious solo attack to take a second lap of the field and Barker wrested the initiative from the eventual runner-up with time running out. She finished with 59 points, eight clear of Hammer, while Kirsten Wild of Holland took bronze.
“It was awful to ride. Absolutely horrible,” Barker said. “I was so nervous. I was sickly nervous. I was seriously running out of laps.
“I think it was six to go and my coach [Chris Newton] just shouted ‘sprint’ which I think was the only thing I could do.
“If I didn’t sprint I was never going to get there. It was just about trying to get to Hammer.”