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A late dig was not enough for Neah Evans as she missed out on the medals to surrender her title in the women’s points race at the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow.
Less than twenty-four hours after winning the Madison crown alongside Elinor Barker, Evans found she was missing the extra kick she needed in a race won by Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky ahead of Australia’s Georgia Baker.
Evans started strong and had followed an attack from Kopecky and Baker midway through the race, looking to gain a lap on the field.
But the pair opened up a small gap to Evans, and while they could work together to pick up the points, Evans had to chase alone, putting in an effort that would cost her later on as she later lost the lap she had worked so hard to gain.
Evans then tried to go long to get the points she needed in the final sprint but could not respond to an attack from Japan’s Tsuyaka Uchino.
“The race didn’t quite go as I was hoping, so I tried to adapt,” Evans said. “I just tried to reset and relax and I relaxed too much. I think I didn’t have the usual zip in my legs.
“I thought, ‘oh, crap. I cannot close that gap that I normally can close easily’. It just changes the dynamic. I went much earlier in the final sprint that I would normally but I didn’t feel like I had the zap to sprint.
“I will have to go for a long one and I couldn’t hold on it, which I normally can. A pretty frustrating day. It is what it is, it’s bike racing.”
Kopecky had not raced in Monday’s Madison after her usual racing partner in the event, Shari Bossuyt, returned a positive test for the banned substance Letrozole in March.
Evans came into these worlds, on her home track in Glasgow, still suffering the effects of a training crash last week, the injuries still visible on her right leg.
Although that did not stop her and Barker winning in the Madison, she could not back it up a day later.
“Up to the crash, I was having a brilliant lead-in,” the 33-year-old said. “I thought, ‘I am going to be fine’, but then you have that little step up. You say it is not going to affect you, it won’t make any difference, but you know it is going to.
“At this level just a few watts missing is the difference between being able to close the gap or not. So is what it is.”
Evans was not involved in this week’s women’s team pursuit, in which Great Britain took a first world title since 2014, with the fight for selection hotting up a year out from the Paris Olympics.
“The thing with being part of British Cycling is we have amazing support and amazing structure but it also means we have some incredible riders,” she said. “So it is hugely competitive to get a spot on the start line.
“I’d like to think I am in the mix, definitely after the Madison, but a lot can happen within a year.”
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