'Harrie and I said to each other in Mallorca, every week baby': Matthew Richardson takes UCI TCL title fight to London


Three rounds and three wins - the Matthew Richardson UCI Track Champions League show rolls on.

The 23-year-old continued his winning ways over the past weekend at Vélodrome de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France, but in a different fashion to the previous two rounds in Mallorca and Berlin.

Having had his sprint winning streak ended by men's sprint league leader Harrie Lavreysen earlier in the night, Richardson bounced back immediately, winning his maiden UCI Track Champions League keirin.

"Basically, I had Harrie (Lavreysen) in front of me and he was moving pretty quick," Richardson said.

"I just needed to give him a good gap, I didn’t want to come around him because he would then probably then just come back around to me.

"So I waited, left a good gap and waited for (Stefan) Bötticher to come, which forced everyone in front to go.

"I then basically just managed Bötticher, and did that really well with a lap to go.

"Harrie was fully committed and ready to go and I was right on him. I started the move out of bend two because I knew I needed to start going early.

"Harrie did a really good ride, he stayed out of the sprint lane and forced me wide, but I was just coming with too much speed and managed to get around."

The keirin win maintained the status quo in the fight for the overall title between the Australian Cycling Team star and the 11-time world champion Dutchman, with just two points separating Richardson and Lavreysen ahead of a double-header season finale at London's Lee Valley VeloPark this weekend.

The respectful rivalry between the two dominant riders in the 2022 men's sprint league has quickly transitioned from a shock to a normal state of affairs in three short UCI Track Champions League weeks, a feeling echoed by Richardson.

"It feels super natural to be achieving what I am at the moment but at the same time super surreal to be beating the best sprinter in the world and a guy who I’ve aspired to be for the last few years," Richardson said.

"Harrie and I said to each other in Mallorca ... 'every week baby'!

"And it's been every bloody week.

"I learnt from my mistakes at the Track Nations Cups and World Championships when I raced him this year and decided taking the speed out of the race (in the sprint) and leaving it down to acceleration was a good play."

Richardson, who was born in England and counts it as a second home, said he will approach the last rounds in London the same as he has done with all of the other races.

"(By) making smart decisions, and the result is going to be the result," he said.

"I just need to stick to my processes, and whatever happens, happens.

"Still all to play for ... I honestly couldn't have asked for a better sprint tournament, it's been absolutely unreal.

"I came here hoping for a top-five finish and to be up there is just surreal.

"I hope I can carry those vibes on to London."

Remaining UCI TCL calendar

  • Round 4: Friday 2 December, 8pm CET (6am Saturday AEDT), London / Lee Valley VeloPark, UK
  • Round 5: Saturday 3 December, 8pm CET (6am Sunday AEDT), London / Lee Valley VeloPark, UK

Watch live and find full replays of UCI Track Champions League action via SBS On Demand.

Pictures: UCI Track Champions League/SWPix
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