A superb double-race victory from Tomes Babek saw him crowned sprinters’ champion at the Six Day Series final in Mallorca.
The Czech rider delivered when it mattered most to take victories in both the opening and closing races of the night in Spain, with that performance comfortably enough for him to sit top of the pile at the evening’s close.
There was plenty for the home support to cheer as Juan Peralta took second, while the podium was rounded off by Britain’s Matthew Rotherham in a perfect conclusion to a thrilling series of races this season.
Babek stamped down his authority during the very first race of their evening, the 200m TT, showing exactly why is considered one of the best sprinters in the world, clocking the fastest time out of the six riders taking to the boards.
Stopping the clock in a time of 10.333s gave Babek victory by almost two tenths of a second, but he wasn’t to have it all in his own way in Palma.
The next honour was to fall to Spaniard Peralta, the second local hero to raise the velodrome roof by taking the spoils in the A sprint final – pipping Babek to the line the process.
The B final went to Rotherham while Jose Moreno Sanchez – one of three Spanish riders in the sprinters’ competition – took the last final.
That perfectly set up a showcase finale with all to play for to lift the sprinters’ trophy, with Babek taking the crowd-pleasing keirin final in superb fashion, with lofted arms showing exactly what victory meant to him.
"It's an amazing experience and I'm so happy that the organisers brought the Six Day Series Final to Mallorca," he said.
"I've been coming here since I was 20, so for ten years I have been coming to train, but now being able to compete in front of a great crowd is perfect, absolutely amazing.
"It sounds a bit ridiculous, but I'm happy for Juan to get that sprint over me, people love him here, but I managed to get him back in the keirin so I am pretty happy!
"Six Day is an incredible thing. I love track cycling, all in my heart, and it's pretty good to see someone organising a race and bringing the great sport of track cycling to normal people, who normally watch other sports, so they can see what our sport is like."