Federação Portuguesa de Ciclismo (UK) - Press Release: Portuguese cyclist Iúri Leitão won today the world title in the omnium at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow, Scotland. It's the first gold medal for the national track cycling in the Elite World Championships.
The Portuguese rider dominated the omnium competition. In the scratch race, the first scoring event, Iúri Leitão waited for the right moment, near the end, to launch an attack that gave him about half a lap advantage, which no one could close, making him the first-place finisher.
In the individual time trial, the result was the same, but the approach was opposite. He attacked right from the start, accumulating points with each lap, and when he had already gathered twelve, he lapped the peloton to add another twenty and secure a margin that ensured his triumph in this event as well.
Next came the elimination race, in which the rider from the National Team also performed at his best, achieving the second position. With this performance, Iúri Leitão reached the decisive points race at the top of the overall standings, with 118 points and a lead of over 20 points over his closest competitors.
The points race was fiercely contested, but Iúri Leitão conserved his energy in the first part of the race and attacked in the final two-thirds of the 25-kilometer event. He tactically held onto the first position and showcased his physical capabilities, securing Portugal's first elite category rainbow jersey in track cycling.
Iúri Leitão closed the omnium competition with 187 points, two more than Frenchman Benjamin Thomas and 14 more than Japanese rider Shunsuke Imamura, who also stepped onto the podium. "It's still hard for me to get used to the idea that I conquered the most important medal in Portuguese track cycling, but yes, I'm aware of it," the rider reacted, moments before stepping onto the podium.
The national coach was thrilled with the result. "We have just won the most important medal of the entire journey we have been on so far. A title in the absolute category, in the Olympic discipline of omnium, and against opponents of the highest level, truly represents the pinnacle of our results," Gabriel Mendes states.
The technical director also emphasizes the significance of the result for Olympic qualification but refuses to celebrate prematurely. "This first-place position puts us in an excellent position to approach the second phase of qualification, but we still have three more eligible events for the ranking. Therefore, I don't like to celebrate before the end. We must continue to work with humility, effort, and dedication, both in this discipline and in the madison," the coach warns.
Ivo Oliveira was the other Portuguese cyclist on the track this Sunday and also delivered an excellent performance. The rider from Gaia set a new national record in the individual pursuit, completing the four-kilometer time trial in 4'06''407, 297 milliseconds faster than the previous record, which he also held.
Ivo Oliveira achieved this record in the qualification round, which allowed him to enter the race for the bronze medal against Italian rider Jonathan Milan. The Italian proved to be better in the decisive race, leaving Ivo Oliveira in an excellent fourth place out of 27 participants. Italian Filippo Ganna won the gold medal thanks to an outstanding final sprint, pushing British rider Daniel Bigham into second place.
"The qualification went very well. After the two riders who set astronomical times, Milan and I were on par. In the final, I just had to focus on myself. I had a drop in performance at the end, which prevented me from winning a medal. But I did my best, and considering my limited experience in track events, it was very good. I am very proud of my work and the work of the entire staff," Ivo Oliveira summed up.