For racers with lofty ambitions on the road and the track, balancing the two disciplines can be tricky. Many tend to focus on one discipline at a time – prioritising the track ahead of the Olympics, say – while others chop and change throughout the season, depending on how schedules line up.
It’s certainly rare for a rider to race high-level road and track events on the same day. But that’s exactly what Elia Viviani did this past Sunday, and he wasn’t just making up the numbers in either event.
The Italian started his day by lining up in the European Championships road race near Munich, Germany. The 208 km race came down to a bunch sprint where Fabio Jakobsen (Netherlands) took the title ahead of Arnaud Démare (France) and Tim Merlier (Belgium). Viviani finished seventh.
After finishing the road race just after 3pm, Viviani returned to competition at around 8pm, this time in the European Track Championships, also being held in Munich.
Lining up in the rainbow bands of world champion, Viviani started the elimination race … and ended up winning gold ahead of Germany’s Theo Reinhardt and Belgium’s Jules Hesters.
While the European track and road championships are normally held at different times of year, every four years they are combined as part of one giant festival of sport: the European Championships. This time around the Championships were held in Munich, and with the road race and some of the track events happening on the same day, there was overlap for multi-discipline riders like Viviani.
Doing both in the same days seems to have worked out pretty well for Viviani.