Flying Dutchwoman Ligtlee holds on to claim keirin gold
British hopes of a second track cycling gold medal in a matter of minutes were dashed as the Netherlands’ Elis Ligtlee took the women’s keirin title, ahead of Great Britain’s Becky James.
Over eight laps of the velodrome, in which chess-style tactics give way to pure speed in the final stages, it was. James stormed her way on the outside to creep into silver medal position, ahead of Australia’s Anna Meares. Reigning world champion Kristina Voegel of Germany was nudged out of the medal positions in the dying seconds, and ended up finishing last of the six finalists.
“It's unbelievable. The semi-final didn't go as I had hoped, but in the keirin, anything can happen,” reacted Ligtlee after her victory. “In the final, I raced on intuition. I came from the back, so I had to make two sprints, one to move up, and another in the end. I know I can make a long sprint. And now I am Olympic champion.”
Silver medallist James added: “I knew it was going to be a quick race with all of those good riders in it. I didn't know how far I was going to get but I didn't think I would get anywhere near the medals. I went around that last bend and there were so many of us. I am absolutely thrilled with that medal.”
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