Katarzyna Pawlowska won her third world title at the 2016 Track World Championships in London on Saturday. The Pole rode a smart and consistent race to pull on the rainbow jersey as points world champion. Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team now boosts two reigning world champions in Armitstead and Pawlowska.
“Sometimes before a race, I have a very good feeling,” said Pawlowska. “Yesterday, I have a very good feeling. I had a lot of confidence.”
She had every reason to be confident. She started the race with a loose plan of attack and by the time the second sprint rolled around, Pawlowska had settled on a winning approach.
“I had control practically all race,” she noted. “At the beginning, my plan was to carefully watch the others and see what they were doing – who is trying to take a lap, who is trying to sprint.”
“The first lap was a warm-up, honestly,” she said. “I saw it was going to be more or less sprinting for points, so I decided to sprint.”
Pawlowska took points in five of ten sprints, winning the seventh sprint and collecting points on more laps than any of her competitors. No one in the field was able to score a lap.
“I realised that I would be world champion before the last lap,” Pawlowska explained. “[Sarah Hammer], the girl from the United States attacked and got a couple points, and the Cuban girl was on my wheel. We were tied on points until I got one point more than her, so then I knew.”
Pawlowska only needed one point more, for 15 points in total, to win gold. Both Jasmin Glaesser (Canada) and Arlenis Sierra Canadilla (Cuba) closed out the race with 14 points. Glaesser took silver by edging out Sierra Canadilla in the finish.
Although she’s twice been world champion, Pawlowska said every title is special. She lined up aiming for gold and was thrilled to achieve her objective.
“This is my favourite race, the points race, and the goal was to win,” said Pawlowska. “I knew that I was well-prepared. I did good preparation. Everything my coach said to me that I should do, I did. Whenever I’m on the start line, I’m racing for gold. I was fighting for this.”
“It’s an incredible feeling to cross the finish line and know that you’re world champion,” she added. “I enjoyed the moment. In London, the crowds were amazing. It was a great atmosphere. My teammates and friends are there with me, and it was an amazing moment. When the [Polish] national anthem for first place played, it was a great feeling.”