So the first day of track competition, and I am buzzing!
It’s all hit home, I’m here, at the Olympics, it’s weird, being so close, knowing all the people involved…
After an early morning training spin, followed by late brekky, Dave wants to head to the track early and says he wants to try the javelin train from Kings Cross, so after a 20 minute walk in the sun, an eight minute train journey, and another 45 minute walk through the park we arrive at a very very warm track.
Now I understand why everyone wants it hot but you walk through the first air-tight door and one of the 75,000 purple T-shirt brigade will not let you walk through the next air-tight sealed door until the first one is closed.
Anyway, all set, I found our spot in a rather good position right by the finish line, had all my research done, paperwork with me so I started wondering around and saying a few hellos…
Chris Boardman, Rob Hayles… you know – old mates. Giovanni Lombardi who is a good friend and a top top guy, Scott McGrory who I took my one and only Six Day win with, Fred Magne, Maurizio Fondriest, who Giovanni introduced me to who is just such a nice down to earth guy and just wanted to know where and when we were going out in London, now that could end up messy.
So over to the track.
A track is a track, it’s the people that make the atmosphere, and I have to say that the crowd here were simply stunning, applause and cheers just for GB riders warming up, and even the very first competitor in the women’s Team Sprint received a massive cheer as did every Olympic and World record regardless of nation.
So there were three massive talking points through the evening as far as I concerned.
Firstly the disqualification of the GB women’s Team Sprint squad. Now concentrate here;
The start/ finish line for timed events are exactly half way along each straight, for the team sprint there is a line 15 meters before and 15 meters after the start/finish line. When one rider is completing their lap in either the men’s or women’s team sprint they cannot come out of the sprinter’s line before the first 15 meter line and must be out of it by the second line, 15 meters after the start finish line, this just happens to be the bush race finish line.
Additionally the front wheel of the following rider cannot overlap the back wheel of the finishing rider before the first 15 meter line, sadly for Great Britain, they fell foul of both of these rules.
This, as you can imagine was met with boo’s from the crowd that you would not believe!
So Jess and Vicky packed up and left. My heart goes out to Jess, it’s harsh, but that’s elite sport, the rules are the rules.
It was somewhat welcomed in the women’s Team Sprint final when the Chinese team were relegated to second having beaten The Germans, for the same reasons.
However, given that it took a good ten minutes for the judges to decide this, interviews were being given, ‘high 5s’ exchanged etc. – by the way, it still hasn’t been officially announced yet!
I guess the medal ceremony was a fair pointer but a communique or announcement would have been nice. It’s fair to say the info, and distribution of it could be improved!
Guo stormed the judges desk to such an extent that they posted three purple T-shirts on it immediately afterwards and Daniel Morolon looked like he was going to start chopping heads off, he scared me and I was 75 meters away in the stands!
Whether you or I agree or disagree the rules are the rules and they have been implemented fairly and across the board.
So the men’s Team Sprint, young Phil Hindes wasn’t happy with his start so he fell off!
Now that’s quick thinking – proper, sinister ‘Doctor Evil’ thinking – but quick, nonetheless!
Agree with it? No, not me. Against the rules?, no, against the “spirit”? Well that’s for you to decide.
So he dusted himself off and then with Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy had a pretty faultless run through to the final where they demolished the French to take another Gold for team GB.
They were just up after one lap, I think 6/100s, then I think 9/100s after two laps and then the talismanic Demi god that is Sir Chris Hoy bought it home by almost a quarter of a second.
Now the French had a bit of a moan and tried to get GB disqualified but that wasn’t going anywhere and I think the crowd may have rioted!
So a fantastic first day for team GB, the world record in the Team Pursuit qualifier only warrants a mere mention in closing because quite frankly it’s going to get beaten again; the Aussies didn’t really show their full hand, I don’t think they will go fast enough to beat team GB but it may be a bit closer than qualifying looked.
Needless to say I got the bus home, 7 minutes walking and done!