By Will Jennings in Munich
Cyclist Sophie Capewell believes a golden era of British sprinting is just around the corner.
The Lichfield star was part of the team who endured a rocky ride at the European Championships this week, dramatically crashing out in the team sprint heats before recovering to finish sixth in the individual keirin on the final day of action in Munich.
Capewell, 23, took a shuddering tumble alongside Welsh star Emma Finucane in the team event as their medal hopes went up in smoke on the city’s makeshift shortened track.
But she reckons the future is bright as her and the well-stocked British squad bid to follow in Olympic bronze medallist Katy Marchant’s decorated cycling footsteps.
Capewell said: “In terms of the GB team as a whole, we’ve got a lot of really strong girls back at home.
“Everyone’s been training hard and the progress that we’ve been making has been a really rapid increase.
“This is a new team, we only rode together this week. I’m really proud of how far we came – qualifying didn’t quite show what we could do, just before the crash we were going quite well.
“Watch this space in the future.
“It’s really exciting if I’m honest. Katy Marchant has led the way with women’s sprinting – and there’s a bit of an age gap so we’ve all been chasing upwards.
“All of a sudden we’re starting to see the fruits of our labour.
“I think that strength is only going to bring more success – I think it’s a really exciting time for women’s sprinting in Britain.”
Capewell, Finucane and Lauren Bell combined in the team event to qualify in fourth on the opening day of action in Munich.
That teed up a hotly-anticipated heat the next day before things went pear-shaped as the trio were involved in a nasty-looking accident.
Capewell’s wheel slipped at the fastest possible speed and her subsequent collision with Finucane sent the pair crashing to the deck.
— British Cycling (@BritishCycling) August 16, 2022
That scuppered their hopes of a podium finish but Capewell, whose father Nigel represented Great Britain as a cyclist at the 1996 and 2000 Paralympic Games, showed all her resilience by getting back in the saddle to finish sixth in both the individual sprint and keirin events.
It’s next stop France for the World Championships in October and Capewell is hungry to build the momentum after a turbulent week in Germany.
“It’s been a bit of a battle to be honesty,” she added.
“We learned a lot on the way – it’s not been a horrendous championships but it’s not been my finest hour.
“I’m really proud of myself and I take a lot of confidence from the way I was riding.
“I’ll now take some time to rest, recuperate and come back further on.
“I’m really optimistic towards the Worlds – I’ll fix the body a little bit and then final preparations.”
The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, takes place 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the German city. Watch daily live coverage across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website