Oliva just misses out at worlds

By Mark Elson in Cycling

THERE was disappointment for Great Britain cyclist Lewis Oliva at the World Track Championships in Hong Kong as he missed out on a qualifying slot by a tenth of a second in his repechage.

The former Monmouth School pupil had hoped to make the podium after taking bronze in the keirin event at the Glasgow World Cup event.

Cyclists in the keirin sprint for the line after a speed-controlled start behind a motorised pacer.

And the 24-year-old medical student came close to going straight through in his seven-bike opening heat, missing out on a top-two qualifying slot by just 0.09 seconds behind Matthew Glaetzer of Australia and Francois Pervis of France.

He still had another chance in the five-man repechage, where the winner went through, but couldn’t quite find his best finishing fourth 0.10 seconds behind Ukranian Andriy Vynokurov in pole position.

The Old Monmothian, whose partner is Olympic champion Ciara Horne, struggled to contain his frustrations, saying: “I’m pretty sad to come out this way and go out in the first round.

"That’s international keirin racing for you. You can feel good and you can be going well, but you can make some wrong decisions and end up on an early plane home.

“You could say that 95% of that race was executed well, but it’s just that last five percent that unfortunately lets you down.

"But it’s the world championships, and these are the best keirin riders in the world.

"It’s a disappointing end to what has been a cracking season, but onwards and upwards, and I’m already looking forward to next season."

Oliva, whose family live near Chepstow, left the British Cycling squad last year after seven years with them to pursue his medical studies in Cardiff and now trains with Welsh Cycling in Newport.

Having won the British title though, he was one of just two GB riders to win a seat on the plane to Hong Kong who are not part of the British Cycling set up.

As well as more GB honours, he will also be targeting the Commonwealth Games in Welsh colours next year on the Gold Coast.

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