Lea Sophie Friedrich stretched out her arms and looked in vain for a gap. Stuck between her rivals, the world-class sprinter missed the hat-trick in the keirin at the cycling world championships in Glasgow, but still just managed to win the bronze medal.
This put a stop to the German gold rush on the wooden oval. After her triumphs in 2021 and 2022, the only 23-year-old Friedrich had to give way to the New Zealand winner Ellesse Andrews and Martha Bayona Pineda from Colombia this time. Nevertheless, she already collected the third medal at the title fights in Scotland.
"I was disappointed in myself. I was angry because I should have reacted earlier. It's disappointing at first. I had to deal with my own emotion first," said Friedrich, adding: "It was a tough one tournament. I'm still happy to have gotten a medal and to be on the podium. I have to keep in mind that you can't always win."
Oversprinted and trapped
In the final, Friedrich initially took the lead, but was then oversprinted and pinched. An awkward situation that she could no longer solve. Team colleague Emma Hinze, who had already won two titles in Glasgow, was eliminated in the semi-finals like young Alessa Catriona Pröpster.
With Friedrich's bronze medal, the German track cycling stars have secured four podium places in the previous three disciplines in the women's sprint area. "They are impressive," said six-time British Olympic champion Chris Hoy of the German Press Agency: "The Germans have a really strong team. They have raised the bar in the sprinters. But their big challenge will now be to win the Olympics ."
The Olympic victory is the title Friedrich is still missing. In 2021 she won silver in the team sprint together with Hinze. In the sprint and the keirin, however, both went empty-handed in Tokyo. Things should be different in Paris 2024
Winning streak ends in the final
Friedrich is currently a fixture in the combat sprint. "Keirin is one of my favorite disciplines. It suits me to be able to drive this long distance and against the opponents," said Friedrich, who rushed through the tournament in a sovereign manner. In the first round as well as in the quarterfinals and semifinals, she won her run with ease. Only in the final did the winning streak break.
Hinze and Friedrich had won gold in the team sprint together with Pauline Grabosch. Hinze also won the 500-meter time trial, in which Friedrich secured bronze. There are also other medal chances in the sprint.
The German men, on the other hand, have to wait for a medal. Tobias Buck-Gramcko finished fifth in the 4000m individual pursuit. Italian superstar Filippo Ganna clinched the title in a heart-stopping final in 4:01.976 minutes against Briton Daniel Bigham, who had always been in the lead up to 125 meters from the end. Ganna had decided not to compete in the road race for the individual pursuit, but on Friday he wants to tackle his third title after 2020 and 2021 in the individual time trial.
Meanwhile, in parasport, the former track cycling world champion Robert Förstemann can look forward to another medal with his visually impaired colleague Thomas Ulbricht. The duo, who had finished third in the 1000 meters, advanced to the semi-finals in the sprint. The competition continues on Monday.