JAPAN’s Yumi Kajihara claimed a dramatic victory in the women’s omnium at the track cycling world championships in Berlin on Friday to take gold, just five months before the Tokyo Olympics.
The 22-year-old, who also won the omnium Asian Games title in 2018 in Jakarta, did enough in the points race to hold off Italian Letizia Paternoster.
Kajihara finished with 121 points overall, winning by 12 points, despite suffering a fall during the elimination race.
She led from the start after winning the opening scratch race, which saw Britain’s four-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny crash out of contention.
The 27-year-old Kenny, wife of six-time Olympic gold medallist Jason Kenny, reportedly needed stitches around her right eye after being hit by two riders.
Reigning world omnium champion Kirsten Wild, who won scratch gold just two days before, was relegated to last place, from second, for causing the crash.
Kajihara strengthened her lead by finishing second in the tempo race, before recovering despite falling during the elimination race to take third, securing an overall lead to take into the closing points race.
She saw off the challenge of Paternoster, while Poland’s Daria Pikulik enjoyed a strong final event to snatch bronze from Portuguese rider Maria Martins.
– Ganna breaks world record –
The 23-year-old, who rides on the road for Team Ineos, was close to breaking the symbolic four-minute mark in his qualifying run.
Ganna had previously set the record with 4min 2.647sec in November.
He claimed his fourth individual title, having also taken gold in 2016, 2018 and 2019, by cruising to victory in the final against American Ashton Lambie.
But Ganna, who also claimed individual silver in 2017, did not threaten his earlier record, winning in 4min 3.875sec.
Frenchman Corentin Ermenault beat Italian teenager Jonathan Milan to take the bronze.
Germany’s Emma Hinze beat Russian Anastasia Voinova in two runs to take the women’s sprint gold.
It was the home favourite’s second title of the championships, having also been part of the winning team sprint outfit.
Hinze had knocked out three-time world champion Lee Wai Sze of Hong Kong in the semi-finals.
“I can’t believe it,” she said after winning two years since the last world title of compatriot Kristina Vogel, who was left paraplegic following a serious accident.
“I had never cried after a victory before. It’s so special, I didn’t expect it.”
Lee had to settle for bronze, defeating Canadian Kelsey Mitchell in the small final.
Elsewhere, 19-year-old New Zealander Corbin Strong claimed gold in the men’s points race in an event which has been scrapped from the programme for this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Spain’s Sebastian Mora Vedri finished second with the Netherlands’ Roy Eefting in third, as title holder Jan-Willem van Schip decided against competing to focus on the omnium and the madison later in the championships.
Dutch racer Sam Ligtlee clinched victory in the men’s one kilometre time trial in a time of 59.495 seconds, beating last year’s winner Quentin Lafargue into second.
Ligtlee, 22, whose sister Elis is the Olympic keirin champion, won bronze at the European Championships in the same race two years ago.
Lafargue’s compatriot Michael D’Almeida was third in a discipline which last featured at the Olympics in 2008.