A sell-out crowd witnessed a thrilling finale to the 2015/16 Revolution Series at the Manchester Velodrome, with Team WIGGINS taking the day and the title overall. Jon Dibben took his fine form from the fortnight before into the final round and dominated by winning two of the five events. Team WIGGINS topped the series standings by a sizeable margin with 440 points, followed by Team Pedalsure with 384 and Maloja Pushbikers with 362.
WIGGINS were consistently placed high up the order from race 1, with Dibben securing second in the flying lap time trial. He was beaten by just under 4 tenths of a second by Kian Emadi of ONE Pro Cycling; little surprise, since before turning his hand to endurance, he was a successful team sprinter and silver medallist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Dibben then showed his class in the points race, with a display of physical and tactical dominance. The three-way battle between Dibben, Scotland’s Mark Stewart and Team Sky’s Vasil Kiryenka, went down to the penultimate sprint, ensuring an exciting race. Dibben had to lap the field twice to win the race, which is an impressive feat considering that Kiryenka is the World Time Trial Champion on the road, and is known for his strength in physical endurance and determination.
The evening session then started as the afternoon had left off, with Dibben once again triumphing, this time in the 15km scratch race. He beat Great Britain and Team Pedalsure rider Chris Latham into second place, and Mark Stewart came third. This was then followed by the Madison time trial, allowing the team aspect of the competition to come into play. Team Sky couldn’t take part in this particular event, as they only fielded Vasil Kiryenka for round 5. Once again, Team WIGGINS finished first, the expert partnership of Dibben and Doull guided them to a third win in as many races. Pedalsure came a close second again, and ONE Pro Cycling third.
The final race ended in controversy as there appeared to be confusion between the commissaries and the velodrome commentators over when the final sprint was meant to take place. Team WIGGINS won, but after protests from Team Pedalsure the event was declared void, and the final standings for the series taken after four races. This made no difference to the winners, with WIGGINS being more than 25 points ahead of Pedalsure, meaning that they needed not score any points at all to claim the prize.
Speaking afterwards, Jon Dibben said that the night had gone “almost perfectly”. He added, with a hint of understatement: “I knew we’d [Team WIGGINS] be going quite well. A lot of the lads here have just come from training camp and so we knew we’d be going alright.” He went on to say that the tough schedule before the World Championships in March would not be easing up any time soon, with more racing in Majorca the following week and then shortly afterwards some road action at the Tour of Dubai.
Away from the men’s series, Great Britain’s Laura Trott—the headline rider of the final round—was consistently at the business end of the action, winning three of her four events, and came second in the scratch race. Her win in the points race showed her dominance, taking it with two sprints to spare, and by a margin of 38 points. As the pre-eminent female endurance rider in the world, it is hard to see Trott not being selected for GB at the Olympics this year, especially based on the form shown at Revolution.
The crowd were also treated to a selection of great sprint races, with the track comeback of Dutch sprint great Theo Bos the main attraction. The five-time world champion was victorious in both the match sprint and the Keirin—impressive considering that he is still in transition after switching to the road after Beijing 2008. The Dutchman is trying to stake a claim to be in the Netherlands team in Rio this summer, and his current form doesn’t seem to be betraying that ambition.
British interest came in the form of current national champion Lewis Oliva and local favourite Matthew Rotherham. Oliva was consistently at the top of the standings, winning the 200m time trial, coming second in the match sprint and fourth in the Keirin. Meanwhile, Bolton’s Rotherham carried good form from six-day racing into Revolution, and was gleefully playing to a vocal home crowd. The second placed rider from the Six Days of London came third in the Keirin and individual sprint, and was visibly buoyed by jubilant support from the grandstands.
German track star, Robert Forstemann also made an appearance in the sprints. The rider known as “Quadzilla” for his 29 inch thighs had a less than impressive day on the boards, but was a welcome draw, since he is one of the most popular track cyclists on social media.
A final bit of stardust was added to the event by Chris Hoy who was there to present the prizes and promote the Future Stars series, which is sponsored by Hoy bicycles. The youth event has been won by many riders who have gone on to represent GB at international level. Lewis Stewart and Jessica Roberts have joined a list of winners that includes Peter Kennaugh, Simon Yates and one of this year’s senior winners, Owain Doull.
The climax of Revolution 2015/16 marked the last major event in the British track season before the world championships return to British shores. The UCI Track World Championships run at the Lee Valley Velodrome in London from March 2nd to 6th, and they will be the final international opportunity for riders to break into their national teams before this summer’s Olympic Games.
Elite Series Final Standings
1. Team Wiggins 440
2. Team Pedalsure 384
3. Maloja Pushbikers RT 362
4. JLT Condor p/b Mavic 252
5. Orica Greenedge 233
6. ONE Pro Cycling 227
7. Team Sky 210
8. Scotland Burness Paul 199
9. Telegraph Allstars 191
10. Team USN 158
11. VCUK-Champion Systems 139
12. The Nab Racing 136