It’s almost time for the Commonwealth Games again, this time around they’re being held in Australia’s Gold Coast, on the eastern edge of the country and this edition will be the first time the men and women compete in the same number of events. In 2014 though, all the excitement was around the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the third time Scotland had played host to the huge number of athletes from around the world.
VeloVeritas were there with our cameras to cover the largest multi-sport event ever held in the country; we were roadside for the Time Trials for men and women which reached out into the countryside around the city, along with thousands of other cycling fans we enjoyed the fabulous men‘s and women‘s MTB racing in the Cathkin Braes parklands.
We spent four days working hard trackside at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome with particular highlights for us being two Gold medals for our friend Craig Maclean and his stoker Neil Fachie in the tandem events and the continuing progression of Dundee’s Mark Stewart (taking everything New Zealand’s Tom Skully could throw at him in the Points Race), and an absolutely fascinating slow-boil, thoroughly drenching, city-centre based Road Race which saw Geraint Thomas prevail.
A special moment was catching up with old pals Craig and Chris (being rushed around the velodrome which bears his name, with minders and hosts, as a guest VIP). Together with Pete Jacques being there in a track-maintenance capacity, it was like a City of Edinburgh Racing Club ‘class of ’96’ reunion.
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Australia had another great day at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome, collecting another five medals to add to the previous two days haul of ten, putting them top of the cycling table with six more than any other country.
For the second day in a row, the Men’s Para Tandem provided one of the most memorable moments.
This time it was the Sprint competition and again it was the Scottish pair of Neil Fachie and Craig MacLean, winning the final two-matches-to-one and celebrating with their families whilst the crowd joined in singing to them, who brought the proceedings to a halt.
There was controversy in the Men’s Points race as riders showed the event is in fact a contact-sport, colluded and were disqualified.
There were some spills too; Scottish sprinter Jenny Davis showed real guts, crashing then minutes later remounting and contesting the minor final as if nothing had happened.
Men’s Para-Sport Sprint B2 Tandem
Neil Fachie piloted by Craig MacLean (Scotland) took their second gold medal in two days by winning the Para Sport Tandem Sprint in a thrilling three-race final against Kieran Modra and Jason Niblett (Australia)
The Aussies surprised the Scots in the first ride by accelerating early and forcing a lengthy chase, the Scottish pair having to go the long way round and running out of track before the line.
Modra and Niblett tried the same tactic in ride two but MacLean was ready for it and leapt onto their rear wheel, following it with only a few inches to spare – not easy on a tandem, let alone on a track and at race speed.
With a couple of laps to go the Scots pushed on and over the Australians, showing their superior power and making it one-all, meaning the third ride was necessary to decide the winner.
Ride three saw a similar race, the Scots taking the sprint to a huge roar from the crowd who were on their feet urging the two teams on.
Fachie and MacLean took a few laps to wave the Saltire flag, soak up the applause and shared the celebrations with their families up in the stands while the crowds joined in an impromptu rendition of the Proclaimers hit song ‘500 miles’.
Podium presentation for the Tandem medals and the photographers compete for the athlete’s attention. “Over here guys!”, “Neil – look at me!”, “Hey lads, to us!“, and all of that.
The guy next to me shouts “Kiss the medals!” and Craig looks at him, smiles and shakes his head, ‘no, not gonna do that…‘. “Well, give us a roar then!“, and so he did.
I knew it would appear in a newspaper somewhere.
2 Kieran Modra & Jason Niblett (Australia) 0:00:00.213
3 Paul Kennedy & Thomas Clarke (Australia) 0:00:00.409
4 Matthew Ellis & Leauan Willians (Wales) 0:00:00.593
Men’s 1000m Time Trial
Taking a huge chunk off his own Games record set four years ago in Delhi, Scott Sunderland (Australia) took a fabulous victory in the Kilo. His time of 1.00.675 in the region of that which was only achievable at altitude a few years ago.
Two New Zealanders filled the podium slots, Simon van Velthoven taking silver in 1.01.060 and Matthew Archibald’s 1.01.162 good enough for third.
2 Simon van Velthooven (New Zealand) 0:01:01.060
3 Matthew Archibald (New Zealand) 0:01:01.162
4 Ed Clancy (England) 0:01:01.439
5 Kian Emadi (England) 0:01:01.641
6 Bernard Esterhuizen (South Africa) 0:01:02.414
7 Vincent de Haitre (Canada) 0:01:03.317
8 Bruce Croall (Scotland) 0:01:03.356
9 Steven Burke (England) 0:01:03.449
10 Quincy Alexander (Trinidad and Tobago) 0:01:03.679
11 Josiah NG (Malaysia) 0:01:04.309
12 Mohd Tisin (Malaysia) 0:01:04.747
13 Amrit Singh (India) 0:01:06.903
14 Amarjit Nagi (India) 0:01:08.117
15 Jesse Kelly (Barbados) 0:01:10.545
16 Alan Baby (India) 0:01:10.579
Men’s 40km Points Race
The Points Race turned out to be be a contest principally between New Zealand and the Isle of Man, with both teams using their three riders in various ‘team-like’ ways whilst the event is ostensibly one for individuals.
Kiwi rider Tom Skully won the race after a strong last-lap sprint with teammate Aaron Gate taking bronze.
Chasing breaks, towing teammates and giving lead-outs were all evident from both teams (and others) but for some reason only the Isle of Man riders Mark Christian and Joe Kelly were disqualified from the results for ‘collusion’ before the race was finished, with their remaining rider Peter Kennaugh going it alone and ending up with the silver medal having looked very strong all race with lots of attacking and pushing breaks along.
Nine riders had taken a lap in the first quarter of the race after grouping together following an attack instigated by Glenn O’Shea (Australia) after the first sprint points. Once the lap was gained, teammates and circumstances stopped anyone from un-lapping themselves and making it clear who would be contesting the medals – with both the Kiwis and Manxmen helping their top-placed riders out.
2 Peter Kennaugh (Isle Of Man) 84
3 Aaron Gate (New Zealand) 82
4 Owain Doull (Wales) 75
5 Zachary Bell (Canada) 45
6 Jack Bobridge (Australia) 42
7 Glenn O’Shea (Australia) 30
8 Darren Matthews (Barbados) 22
9 Shane Archbold (New Zealand) 14
10 Evan Oliphant (Scotland) -20
Women’s 10km Scratch Race
Australia’s Anette Edmonson stepped up from yesterday’s silver medal in the Individual Pursuit to add gold to her Games haul with her teammate Amy Cure taking the silver, adding to her IP bronze.
The race wasn’t run off as one of the fastest 10k’s ever, the stronger teams foxing a bit and covering moves without really committing until Stephanie Roorda and Laura Brown (Canada) stepped on the gas and made it difficult for anyone wanting to get off the front.
No-one gained a lap or got a decent gap and the bunch whittled down as riders lost contact and were pulled out by the commisaires. The Scottish and English teams hit the front with ten laps to go to try to setup their key riders but it was the Australians who timed their efforts the best, Edmonson was clearly the strongest and Cure just holding off Elinor Barker, who took third.
England’s Dani King was fourth and Katie Archibald (Scotland) fifth, after looking like she was heading for a medal with a couple of laps to go.
2 Amy Cure (Australia)
3 Elinor Barker (Wales)
4 Dani King (England)
5 Katie Archibald (Scotland)
6 Jupha Somnet (Malaysia)
7 Katie Curtis (Wales)
8 Eilleen Roe (Scotland)
9 Lauren Ellis (New Zealand)
10 Jasmin Glaesser (Canada)
11 Laura Trott (England)
12 Rushlee Buchanan (New Zealand)
13 Amy Roberts (Wales)
14 Lydia Boylan (Northern Ireland)
15 Melissa Hoskins (Australia)
16 Steph Roorda (Canada)
17 Charline Joiner (Scotland)
18 Laura Brown (Canada)
19 Joanna Rowsell (England)
20 Georgia Williams (New Zealand)