Eight cycling medals for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.
A wonderful performance.
Double the number of medals the Scottish cycling team won in the nine Games between 1970 – the first Games I remember – and 2002 inclusive.
We’re not including road or para cycling here, the latter because there were no events included in the Games before 2014 making comparisons impossible.
The 2006 Games saw what looked like the breakthrough with the same trio taking team sprint gold, Edgar also taking individual sprint and keirin bronze.
But it was a false dawn and 2010 saw but the women’s team sprint silver of Jenny Davis and Charline Joiner go on the board.
The last Games in Glasgow saw us fare even worse with just Katie Archibald’s bronze in the women’s points race to write home about.
But this year the jackpot was well and truly hit with gold for the inimitable Katie in the pursuit and for Mark Stewart in the points race.
And there were two bronze medals, one for Neah in the women’s points and one for Callum Skinner in the kilometre.
Eight medals – a wonderful performance from all concerned.
Here’s the VeloVeritas view on the silverware…
Katie Archibald, Women’s Individual Pursuit, gold: Games record in qualifying and wins the final, not much else to say except; ‘respect!’
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Mark Stewart, Men’s Points Race, gold: we were thinking in terms of silver or bronze for the man from Dundee – Australia’s five time world points champion, Cameron Meyer was surely unbeatable?
Fortunately young Mr. Stewart was of a different mind set and won a blistering final by a country mile.
He’s going to look good in a rainbow jersey one day, we think.
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John Archibald, Men’s Individual Pursuit: it’s times we stopped the ‘you know who’s brother’ handle and gave the man the recognition he deserves.
Archibald broke the Games record and came very close to the world record in qualifying – placing his name among those of Brad McGee, Bradley Wiggins and Jack Bobridge.
No further elaboration required.
In the final he was clawing back the fast starting Tanfield all the way – but the line just came that bit too quickly.
Being able to ‘lift it’ in the final laps is always the mark of a great pursuiter.
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Jack Carlin, Men’s Individual Sprint, silver: prior to Meyer’s failure in the points race the biggest surprise of the track events was world champion and eventual keirin and kilometre champion Matt Glaetzer of Australia going out to Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom of Malaysia in the 1/8 final.
The road looked clear for Carlin – but Sam Webster of New Zealand hasn’t been at the top of the world’s sprint tree since he won three junior world titles in 2009 for nothing and the reigning champion from the Glasgow Games despatched the Paisley man in straight rides in the final.
Carlin lost the first ride through a split second of inattention but came desperately close to going one/one with Webster in the second ride.
Another Scot we expect to see in rainbow hoops in the future.
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Neah Evans, Women’s Scratch Race, silver: perhaps over shadowed by Ms. Archibald’s stellar performances over the last few years, Neah’s ride comes on the back of international track success from Portugal to Poland via Canada over the last several seasons.
And at 27 years-of-age there’s still more to come, surely?
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Katie Archibald, Women’s Points Race, silver: ‘elephant in the room’ time; ‘could Katie have won if Neah had worked for her instead of riding her own race?’
Possibly – but Elinor Barker was mightily impressive, lapping the field then taking the final, double sprint points – not to mention the subtle but highly effective work her team did for her.
We don’t know what the Scotland plan was for the race but when one looks at Neah Evans’ palmares on the track these last few years she was a definite medal possibility in her own right.
And whilst it was a tad disconcerting and confusing at the time to see two Scots women racing against each other, who are we to suggest that Neah surrenders her medal hopes in service of Katie?
And as Tommy Banks reminded me, the bunch races are supposed to be ‘individual’ events with no ‘collusion’ – albeit the Welsh girls in this race and Cameron Meyer in the scratch seemed to have forgotten that, on both occasions to very good effect for their team mate.
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Neah Evans, Women’s Points Race, bronze: Scotland with two medals in this event with the mighty Aussie team not making the podium – it speaks for itself.
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Callum Skinner, Kilometre, silver: if you’re as old as me you can remember Belgian ace Patrick Sercu becoming the first man to dip below the magic minute back in the early 70’s.
But from a flying start and at altitude in Mexico City.
To win the Worlds and Commonwealth Games you now have to be capable of achieving this feat from a standing start at sea level – mind boggling for someone like me who remembers Worlds medals being won with 1:09 rides.
Skinner just missed the 60 second mark but wasn’t far outside it, a great ride in the very best company and one which shouldn’t be forgotten in the excitement of the golds and silvers mentioned above.
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I don’t know about you but if someone had said to me before the Games; ‘would you settle for two gold medals, four silvers and two bronzes for the Scottish cycling team?’
I’d have replied; ‘that would do just fine!’
Congratulations again to all concerned including coaching staff, soigneur and mechanic from VeloVeritas.