ALUN Rossiter’s Great Britain side missed out on a World Cup medal this evening as Peter Kildemand’s Denmark claimed gold on a dramatic night in Bydgoszcz.
The Danes topped the rostrum after winning a titanic battle with Poland, pipping the hosts by just a single point in a last-heat decider as Niels Kristian Iversen passed Janusz Koldziej in the final corner to claim the title in style.
Troy Batchelor’s Australia finished third, with the Swindon skipper scoring only two as club asset Jason Doyle plundered 13.
Despite a spirited performance, Rossiter’s side were never really in the shake-up for the medals, highlighted by the fact their first heat victory didn’t arrive until the 16th race of the night as both Robins asset Simon Stead and Danny King failed to score.
However the night belonged to Kildemand and Denmark, with the Robins number one scoring seven from his five rides to ensure the title for his country as Nicki Pedersen led the way with 17 and Mads Korneliussen contributing 11 and three respectively.
The meeting got off to a tough start for Rossiter’s side as, after an aborted first run which saw Iversen slip down, Stead finished at the back behind winner Jarek Hampel, Iversen and Chris Holder.
World champion Tai Woffinden was out in heat two and made a quick cut back in turns ones and two, but he couldn’t hang onto the lead as Koldziej bullied up the inside of him to give the Poles their second heat winner.
Robins top two Batchelor and Kildemand met in heat three, with Batchelor shoved wide in the first corner and forced to the back as Kildemand finished second, with Piotr Protasiewicz securing win number three for the hosts.
Krzysztof Kasprzak made it a clean sweep of the opening round of heats for Poland with a victory from the outside in heat four, before Iversen broke the dominance of the hosts with a win over Protasiewicz in the first race after the opening round of track grading.
The Aussies’ poor start saw boss Mark Lemon play his joker early, using Holder, and the 2012 world champion made a magnificent start to pick up six points which put his side firmly ahead in the battle for bronze with Great Britain.
Kildemand’s second ride proved disastrous as he stopped in the first corner, appearing to spot a rogue red light in the crowd and mistaking it for the track warning lights, as Doyle took victory for the Aussies, before Nicki Pedersen closed the gap on Poland further with victory in heat eight as Stead packed up at the back.
Poland were back on song as Kasprzak hit the front and won heat nine, in which Batchelor pulled up due to a lack of vision as he trailed at the back, before both Britain and Denmark used their jokers as Woffinden and Pedersen came in as tactical substitutes.
It was Denmark who made the most of their double-points chance as Pedersen stormed away to the win, ahead of Protasiewicz, but with Woffinden only third it seemed Rossiter’s chances of leading his side to a medal were all but gone.
Holder kept Australia in touch with a victory in heat 11, with Kildemand second and Kolodziej third, before Nicki Pedersen completed the Denmark comeback with victory in heat 12 which gave his side a one-point lead.
Hampel levelled things up with a win ahead of Korneliussen in the first heat of the fourth round of races, before Doyle’s victory allowed Denmark to take the lead once again as Iversen finished second with Kolodziej at the back.
With his country holding a two-point lead, Kildemand produced the ride of the night to extend the Danish advantage by a further point as he tried every line before passing Kasprzak and, despite the Pole repaying the compliment, the Robins number one was able to pass the Pole on the run to the line after Kasprzak went wide.
Woffinden provided the Brits’ first victory of the night in the last of the programmed rides, with the battle between Denmark and Poland set to go down to the wire in the nominated races.
Doyle won the first by a mile as he made the gate to lead Kasprzak home but, with Korneliussen stuck behind Harris at the back, the scores were soon level with three races to go.
The Poles took the narrowest of leads into the final two races as Hampel beat Pedersen in a tough first corner of heat 18, before the pressure fell on Kildemand’s shoulders as the Danes looked to bounce back in the penultimate race.
The Robins man completely missed the start as Protasiewicz made the gate from the outside, but the experienced Pole was soon tasting dirt as he pushed too hard to round Doyle in the opening corner and hit the deck before being excluded. His absence gifted Kildemand the chance to give his side the lead again but, despite pushing Woffinden all the way he couldn’t claim second place and had to settle for a third which levelled the scores going into the final race.
Despite making the gate and leading Iversen for all four laps, it was the Dane who emerged victorious thanks to a stunning move at the death.