The Portuguese Iuri Leitão became European vice-champion of elimination today, in the first day of the European championships of track cycling, that take place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
The 22-year-old cyclist, who in October had already won the silver medal in this specialty of the European under-23s, makes his medal debut among the elite, second only to Briton Matthew Walls, beating Russian Sergei Rostovtsev, third , for second place.
In the elimination event, the slowest cyclists every two laps are eliminated, as they are the last to cross the goal on each pass, and the Portuguese had to sprint several times to keep himself safe.
When there were only five cyclists left, Leitão did it again and ended up going ‘calm’ to the fight for the medals, then reaching the final ‘sprint’ for gold, with Walls already without the strength to discuss it.
The cyclist from Viana do Castelo was the main Portuguese highlight on the first day of races, with Maria Martins being ranked 10th in the scratch, a discipline in which she had been bronze medal in the Europeans of 2019 and in the Worlds of 2020.
This event was won by Italian Martina Fidanza, the new European champion, followed by Belarusian Hanna Tserakh, second, and Ukrainian Tetyana Klimchenko, third.
On Thursday, Iuri Leitão disputes the scratch in search of a new medal, while ‘Tata’ Martins goes to the fight in the elimination, both continuing in the race on Friday, in the omnium.