Title fights in France: Track World Championships: Kluge and Friedrich win silver - Hinze bronze

Lea Sophie Friedrich pedaled with the last of her strength, but she was denied the crowning of the new sprint queen in the French cauldron.

Title fights in France: Track World Championships: Kluge and Friedrich win silver - Hinze bronze

Lea Sophie Friedrich pedaled with the last of her strength, but she was denied the crowning of the new sprint queen in the French cauldron.

Against Mathilde Gros and 5000 enthusiastic French, the dominance of the German women's bike sprinters ended - Friedrich and the dethroned world champion Emma Hinze and Co. got a bitter foretaste of what could happen to them in 2024 at the Summer Games on Friday on the Olympic track in Paris .

Silver for Friedrich - Hinze gets bronze

Because Gros - carried by the audience - inflicted a painful defeat on the German high-flyers one after the other and won the world title for the first time in the rain of confetti. "I would have liked to have had the rainbow jersey. In retrospect, I'm also proud of the silver medal. Of course I still missed that title," said Friedrich and said, looking at the great atmosphere in the stands: "Of course you can hear that it's loud . But I'm concentrating on the race and driving that. It's a little taste of Paris."

Hinze, however, had to settle for bronze. Another German medal went to veteran Roger Kluge, who won silver in the points race. For the 36-year-old, it is the seventh World Cup medal of his career.

But the highest decibel values ​​were measured in the velodrome of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in the grand sprint final. Friedrich tried everything, sometimes sprinting from the front, sometimes from behind, but it wasn't enough. The exceptional 22-year-old cyclist thus missed out on being only the second cyclist after Anna Meares to win all four short-term titles.

Above all, however, German dominance came to an end. Since the 2020 World Cup in Berlin, Hinze and Friedrich have shared all sprint titles among themselves. Only on Wednesday did the duo triumph in the team sprint together with Pauline Grabosch. But Hinze in particular had a hard time fighting throughout the sprint tournament, struggling from round to round. Against Gros, who was supported by the audience, the world championship dream came to an end in three runs in the semifinals.

Kluge also takes silver

Kluge was responsible for the first German medal of the day. 14 years after Olympic silver in Beijing, the 36-year-old made it onto the podium for the first time at a World Championships in a points race. Kluge finished second after 40 kilometers with 67 points and was only beaten by Dutchman Yoeri Havik (76) on Friday. Third place went to Belgian Fabio van den Bossche (64).

"It's always good to be on the podium. A medal in international title fights is nice for the collection and confirms that I'm not yet to be written off. I'm still riding at a good level," said Kluge. In recent years, the Berliner had primarily focused on driving in a two-man team. There, Kluge has won gold twice and bronze once with Theo Reinhardt in recent years.

Kluge used all his experience this time. In the final phase he did two laps and also won the last sprint. "In the end I had to attack. It was silver, tactically I don't need to be accused of anything. I always had a strong final, and I showed that again. Experience, age, strength - that prevailed again," said Kluge .

On the other hand, there was a huge disappointment for European champion Nicolas Heinrich in the 4000 meter individual pursuit. The 20-year-old experienced a slump in qualifying and was only 18. Gone was the dream of a grand final against the Italian hour record holder Filippo Ganna, who won his fifth title in this discipline and set the next world record in 3:59.636 minutes. Heinrich was a good 19 seconds slower than Ganna in his run.

"It just wasn't my day. The excitement was missing. It wasn't like usual. You could tell right from the start that it was laxer," said Heinrich, who had won the European Championship title in Munich in August and almost was nine seconds faster.

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