Neah Evans and Pfeiffer Georgi admit nothing could have prepared them for an hour of madison madness in Munich.
Scottish star Evans, 32, joined forces with Georgi, 21, for the final women’s cycling event at the multi-sport European Championships and missed out on a medal by the skin of her teeth.
The duo, competing together for the first time in the event, finished fourth behind Denmark as a slender two-point margin denied them a place on the podium.
The madison is a unique, idiosyncratic and action-packed event that sees riders compete as a pair and swap in and out bidding to gain laps on their opponents.
Evans and Georgi finished behind Italy, France and Denmark on Tuesday but reckon they’ve learned a lifetime’s worth of lessons from a chaotic encounter in Germany.
Evans, a team pursuit Olympic silver medallist in Tokyo last summer, said: “We’ve never done the madison before we got here.
“There were a lot of new learnings and in the madison, even when you do loads of training together, there’s nothing quite like a race.
“Even when you’re resting, there’s just so much going on the whole time and there’s riders all over the place.
“So to come in to a race having so little experience together was going to be a huge ask.
“We put in a really good effort – there were a lot of strong pairings today and it wasn’t quite enough for a medal.
“But we gave it everything we’ve done to be here - it was a really solid performance and we’ve got to be happy with that.”
British Cycling have experienced a turbulent week in Munich involving multiple medals but even more near misses.
The men’s team pursuit and sprint stars bagged bronzes on Friday after the women’s sprinters had dramatically crashed in one of their opening heats.
Later in the day, Evans and Britain’s female team pursuit riders came fourth in their competition while on Sunday, two-time Tokyo medallist and fellow Scot Jack Carlin, 25, battled to a brave individual silver after surviving a high-speed crash of his own in the semi-finals.
Charlie Tanfield narrowly missed out on individual pursuit bronze before young star Georgi delivered a dazzling display of maturity to claim silver in a crash-affected women’s elimination race.
Georgi is more of a specialist on the road and revelled in the experience of competing at her first European Championships.
“It was a shame to miss out on a medal in the end but, it was our first time as a pairing and first elite madison,” she added.
“I was looking forward to the madison and riding with Neah – it’s one of my favourite events and was good fun on this track.”
This week’s European Championships were held on a shortened 200m track at Munich’s makeshift Messe velodrome, a source of controversy among many British riders owing to the significantly shortened straights and sharp corners.
After a day filled with fantastic showmanship, sportsmanship and surprise its time to look at the standings. Now around the half way point of the championships the host nation are sitting top.
With still another half to go, twists and turns are sure to come. Stay tuned folks 👏 pic.twitter.com/53A4xdEVsZ
— European Championships (@Euro_Champs) August 16, 2022
Evans had no major complaints but did admit a change in approach was necessary.
“I’d never ridden a 200m track,” she added.
“It’s really bizarre – coming out of turn two pulls you down to the back and then turn three rolls you up.
“Because it’s so short, there’s almost like a whiplash effect and any movement is massively magnified.
“It was against everything I’ve been training for since I got into British Cycling. It was a shock to the system.”
Elsewhere at the velodrome on the final day of cycling action, Scottish sprinter Lauren Bell was unable to progress to the final in the women’s keirin competition.
Bell, 22, succumbed to defeat in the repechage to finish 16th in the overall standings after coming 14th in the sprint competition on Sunday.
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