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Australian finish on top – track cycling wrap

28 July 2014

COMM GAMES CYCLING: Australia's track cyclists are smiling after finishing on top of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games track cycling medal table with seven gold and 20 total medals (17 in Olympic events – 7G 7S 3B) after the competition finished on Sunday evening. 

Stephanie Morton claimed a memorable gold medal in the women's sprint over reigning Olympic and Commonwealth champion Anna Meares, while Matthew Glaetzer clinched gold in the men's keirin.

Glenn O'Shea took silver in the men's scratch race to round out his successful campaign. While Brandie O'Connor and pilot Bree Hargrave took the bronze in the para tandem kilometre time trial. 

It was Australia's fourth consecutive day which netted five medals, with the team's 20 medals well ahead of New Zealand's eleven and England's nine.

Day 4 EVENT RECAPS

Women's Sprint - Gold & Silver
In the Saturday's qualifying, Stephanie Morton OAM (23, SA) set a Games record (10.984) in the flying 200m, qualifying fastest ahead of Anna Meares OAM (30, SA / Formerly QLD) (11.171).

In the final, Morton controlled both heats from the front, usurping the reigning Olympic and Commonwealth champion Meares in two straight rides to claim her maiden international crown.

"There is really nothing between me and Mearesy, we're really good friends off the track and I have the utmost respect for her on the track as well, and we'll probably ride home (to the village) together," said Morton, 23, a 2012 Paralympic gold medallist and world champion in the para cycling discipline.

"(But in a race) I guess I (have to) look at her as more of a stat on a piece of paper rather than who she is, look at (our) strengths and weaknesses and more in a tactical way than getting all hyped up about racing Anna Meares the Olympic champ.

"I had surgery only two months ago (sinus/adednoids) and it kind of put me back a bit so I wasn't sure how my prep was going to go but it's that sense of relief, all that training and stress and pressure lifted off your shoulders and couldn't believe it."

"I've had a couple of wins now but nothing like this, not at a major competition like this and I'm glad I could finally step up today and prove myself as an athlete.

Seemingly breaking records every time she races, with the silver medal Meares is now equal with New Zealand's Gary Anderson as the most decorated track cyclist at the Commonwealth Games with eight medals.

Meares clinched gold ahead of Morton in the time trial on the first day of competition.

"She's been serving me humble pie all year so it's certainly not a big shock to the system and 10.9 qualifying, that was always going to be difficult to come around on this track," Meares said.

"It's a double edged sword, I'm really happy for her and when I came up to her on the track I said 'you're Commonwealth Games champion, that's fantastic.

"But at the same time I'm disappointed too because I wanted to be there. I'm not disappointed in my effort because I worked very hard and this is my eighth medal from nine starts over twelve years of competing at the Commonwealth Games - how could I be disappointed in that?," said Meares, who missed a medal in her very first Commonwealth Games event in Manchester in 2002.

"I just didn't have the legs and sometimes you get beaten. I did everything I could to be in the best shape that I could for this competition, it wasn't good enough to be the best but it was still good enough to be my best."

Men's Keirin – GoldLike Morton, Glaetzer broke through for his first Commonwealth Games gold medal with a thrilling win in the men's keirin final.

Glaetzer held off New Zealander Sam Webster and Malaysian Azizulhasni Awang in a photo finish as the trio lunged to the line at the end of the fast and furious race.

"It's been a bit of a rollercoaster games for me so to come back on a high is really good," said Glaetzer who won bronze in the team sprint on the opening day, before being knocked out in the men's sprint quarter finals after being the event's fastest qualifier in a Commonwealth Games record time of 9.779secs.

"I should have done better there so this was redemption for me in the keirin and super happy to get the win. I didn't know I had it until I saw the slow-motion replay. I knew it was close, I didn't want to celebrate too early. I wanted to make sure I got it.

"It's really building you as an athlete to be able to re-group after disappointment, come out on a fresh day with a new start and see what you can do.

"We've always been successful as a team - we won the 2012 team sprint world title - but I've never really been on the top step individually so this is my major breakthrough performance.

"And to have three Aussies in the keirin final (Shane Perkins was fourth and Pete Lewis 5th) there was a good chance to take it home so it was very exciting," Glaetzer added.

Men's Scratch - Silver
Glenn O'Shea added to his team pursuit gold medal with silver in the men's scratch race behind gold medallist Shane Archbold (NZL).

O'Shea and Archbold were two of four riders to lap the field, with O'Shea unable to reel in the Kiwi on the finishing straight to take the silver medal.

"When you get that close it's going to be a bit of a disappointment," said O'Shea who rooms with Archbold while racing in Europe.

"We actually raced each other in Belgium. We know each other well. To let him get in front of me in the first lap was my mistake."

Women's Points Race - fourth
Reigning points world champion Amy Cure (TAS) narrowly missed a spot on the podium, taking the bronze medal.

Cure, who claimed silver and bronze from earlier in the week, was in third before the final sprint, but Scot Katie Archibald won the last sprint, giving her five points and putting her one ahead of the Tasmanian on the final standings.

Laura Trott (ENG) claimed the gold on 37 points after winning the final sprint, ahead of Barker (37 points) and Archibald (33) with Cure on 32. 

There is plenty more cycling action to come at the Commonwealth Games which is a great stepping stone to the Olympic Games in 2016.

Six Aussie riders will tackle the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails in the MTB Cross Country event on Tuesday July 29. The Road Time Trials will be held on 31 July and the road races on 3 August.

GOLDEN SMILES FOR EDMONDSON AND SUNDERLAND - Day 3

COMM GAMES CYCLING: Australia's golden run on the track in Glasgow continued on day three, with Annette Edmondson clinching gold in the women's scratch, while Scott Sunderland defended his men's kilometre time trial crown. 

Amy Cure took silver behind Edmondson in the scratch, while Keiran Modra & pilot Jason Niblett won silver in the men's para Tandem sprint to claim Australia's 200th Commonwealth Games medal. Paul Kennedy and Pilot Thomas Clarke completed the team's third consecutive five-medal haul of the Games with bronze in the Tandem sprint. 

The women's sprint competition also got underway with Stephanie Morton breaking Anna Meares' Commonwealth Games record in the flying 200m qualification. Australia is guaranteed gold in the event, with Morton and Meares to now meet in Sunday's final after the pair progressed through to the decider with ease.

Day 3 Olympic event recaps 

Women's Scratch - Gold & Silver

In a thrilling finish to the women's 10km scratch race, Annette EDMONDSON (22, SA) sprinted to her first major win at an international level, coming over the top of team mate Amy CURE (21, TAS) on the front straight.

"Last night after the pursuit I was struggling to sleep and it was also quite hot so I was thinking about it and imagining the feeling if I crossed the line first and it actually happened," said Edmondson who took silver in Friday's individual pursuit.

Edmondson, who has found the podium six times at the past three World Championships and won Olympic bronze in 2012, and was elated to finally move the top step.

"I've never actually won a gold medal at international level like this, I've always come home with seconds and thirds at world championships and Olympics, so this was really special and the girls did a brilliant job out there.

"We had such a good combination of riders, we had to make sure we were represented in every move and I couldn't ask more of my teammates," Edmondson added.

Cure, who claimed the bronze in the individual pursuit on Friday, took the lead with two laps to go before Edmondson charged in the home straight.

"Part of the plan was to get Nettie that gold medal, she's such a smart sprinter that she waited until the last minute to make a move and that made it a lot harder for the others to come around both myself and Nettie," said Cure.  "I can't thank her enough and she's really the reason we kept that silver as well.

"I thought they were all swamping me and it wasn't until a metre before the finish line I realised 'hang on, no one is coming here' it was an amazing experience," added Cure.

Elinor Barker (WAL) took the bronze.

Reigning points world champion Cure, plus Edmondson and Hoskins, will contest the points race on Sunday.

Men's Kilo - Gold

It was double glory for Scott SUNDERLAND (26, WA) as he broke the Commonwealth Games record and defended his kilometre time trial gold medal.

Racing in the last of nine heats, Sunderland trailed at every time check. However the former sprinter used his endurance legs to power over the final 250m to edge in front to post a scorching time of 1min 00.675secs to take the gold medal.

"I've recently changed (from sprint) to endurance so I knew I was always going to be a bit slow coming off the start line," said Sunderland, who in the team sprint event claimed the gold medal Delhi in 2010, the 2012 world title and represented Australia at the London Olympics.

"But with all the training I've been doing with Tim Decker as my coach it's more distance based and that last lap of speed I had no idea where I stood but I had really good strength and was able to finish it off.

"Tim and I in the short period we've been together we've just clicked. There was a lot of umming and ahhing whether I should change from sprint to endurance and to pull it off in that short time and still be able to reclaim the crown from Delhi is amazing and it's good signs of what's to come later on."

Simon Van Velthooven (NZL) took silver in (1:01.060) and Matthew Archibald (NZL) the bronze (1:01.162).

Men's Tandem Sprint - Silver & Bronze

The pairing of Kieran MODRA AM (42, SA) and Pilot Jason NIBLETT (31, SA) took their second silver medal in as many days, this time in the men's para Tandem sprint. 

Seven-time Paralympian Modra and 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Niblett qualified second fastest in the morning session, breaking the Commonwealth record before it was eclipsed in the final heat by Scotland's Neil Fachie and pilot Craig Maclean.

In one of the most exciting races seen at the Games, it appeared the Australians would upset the home crowd favourite after taking a well calculated win in the first heat.  However the Scots held their nerve to come back and take the gold medal in three scintilating heats.

"I think Glasgow's the winner here because they don't see tandem sprint cycling like that," said Niblett, Pilot for the visually impaired Modra. "Everyone seems to be excited by it and I hope we put on a good fight for the crowd.

"I don't think we'd have made it out alive if we had won, but both of us can walk away with our heads held high.

"We broke a Commonwealth record this morning and that was the icing on the cake."

"I'm really enjoying riding with Jason, he brings a wonderful quality to the bike and that's what I love about tandems," said Modra. "You can feel the roar power and the bike twisting and buckling underneath as you hit speeds of 70km/h, it's just an exhilerating atmosphere.

"And to ride against world class Scottish riders like these guys it just brings a real intensity to it and we made sure they earnt that gold medal," Modra added.

Paul KENNEDY (36, ACT) and Thomas CLARKE Pilot (19, ACT) took the bronze medal after defeating the Welsh duo of Ellis and Williams.  

Women's Sprint - Meares v Morton in Sunday

In the afternoon qualifying, Stephanie Morton (AUS) set a Games record (10.984) in the flying 200m, qualifying fastest ahead of Meares (11.171).

The pair moved through their quarter and semi finals with ease, to set up a mouth-watering final between the Games roommates which is sure to delight Australian cycling fans.

Reigning Olympic and Commonwealth champion Meares has the chance become the first track cyclist to win six golds, and regardless of the result, will equal New Zealand's Gary Anderson as the most decorated track cyclist at the Commonwealth Games with eight medals.

Men's Points Race - sixth & seventh

Australia's Jack BOBRIDGE (24, SA) and Glenn O'SHEA  (24, SA  / Formerly VIC) finished sixth and seventh respectively in the final event of the evening, the men's 40km points race final.

The pair teamed on the opening night of competition to claim team pursuit gold, with Bobridge defending his individual pursuit crown on day two. 

Thomas Scully (NZL) took gold on 98 points, with Peter Kennaugh (IOM) taking silver with 84 points and Aaron Gate (NZL) the bronze with 82 points.

BOBRIDGE GOLD LEADS TRACK CYCLING HAUL - Day 2

COMM GAMES CYCLING: Australia's Jack Bobridge defended his individual pursuit gold medal, while siblings Alex and Annette Edmondson collected silver in the men's and women's individual pursuit on day two of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games track cycling competition at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome on Thursday.  

Kieran Modra and Jason Niblett won Tandem time trial silver and Amy Cure took bronze in the women's individual pursuit, while Peter Lewis took fourth in the men's sprint in his Games debut and Matthew Glaetzer finished fifth. Meaning 1 gold, 2 silver and a bronze in Olympic events on Day 2. 

Olympic Event Recaps 

Men's Individual Pursuit - Gold & Silver

Just twenty four hours ago, Jack BOBRIDGE (24, SA) and Alexander EDMONDSON (20, SA) shared the top step of the podium after winning team pursuit gold, but on Friday night they faced off in the men's individual pursuit final.

Defending champion and world record holder Bobridge was the fastest qualifier in 4mins 19.211, little more than a second ahead of reigning individual pursuit world champion Edmondson.

In the final, Bobridge clocked an almost an identical time to qualifying (4:19.650) to take the win over Edmondson (4:24.620).

"For me to come back with the track guys and try to defend my two titles from Delhi, I'm over the moon," said Bobridge. "To be honest I actually had pictures of riding faster. In saying that it's not quite a pursuiters track and looking at it, it's my first one in two years so to ride a 4:19 is still a world class time.

"I said after qualifying it was always going to be a win. If he won or I won it was a win for Australian cycling and to see both of us up there was fantastic.

"Alex is like a brother to me now and we're going to be together right through to Rio and hopefully beyond," Bobridge said.

"Jack's the world record holder and he showed the pure class he is," Alex Edmondson remarked. "It's been an amazing last two days to do the team pursuit last night and back it up with a silver medal today.

"I'm pretty overwhelmed and to share it with my sister (Annette) for her to get a silver medal as well makes it so much more sweet."

Miles SCOTSON (20, SA) finished in sixth place overall.

The Australian men's endurance riders will be back in action in the points race on Saturday and in Sunday scratch race.

Women's Individual Pursuit - Silver & bronze

Annette EDMONDSON (22, SA) made it two silver medals for the South Australian cycling family in the women's individual pursuit.

Edmondson (3:30.728) was the second fastest qualifier in the morning session, less than four tenths of a second behind England's Joanna Rowsell who set a Games record of 3mins 29.038secs.

In the final, reigning world champion Rowsell was too good again, taking gold in 3mins 31.615 over Edmondson (3:35.450).

"I rode to my strengths, tried to go out hard and hold on to it but Jo (Rowsell) is just too damn good and I can deal with being beaten by the world champ," Annette Edmondson said.

"I was really happy with the time I did (in qualifying) this morning, it shows the training is working and obviously I didn't quite back up in the final so there is some improvement to be had."

Amy CURE (21, TAS) won the bronze medal ride (3:35.384) comfortably over Katie Acrhibald (SCO).

"It was really tough out there and I was really happy I secured that bronze medal," said Cure. "The other girls proved tonight why they were on top of the podium and congratulations to them."

Both Cure and Edmondson will turn their attentions to Saturday's scratch race and Sunday's points race, in which Cure is the reigning world champion.

Men's Sprint - 4th & 5th

Fastest qualifer in Thursday's session with a Commonwealth Games record time of 9.779secs Matthew GLAETZER (21, SA) was edged in the quarter final by triple Olympic gold medallist Jason Kienny (ENG).

Kenny's Aussie killing run continued in the semi final where he knocked out Games debutant Peter LEWIS (24, NSW), but was taken to three heats after Lewis showed no nerves against the crowd favourite.

Edward Dawkins (NZL) defeated Lewis for bronze, while Glaetzer won the 5-8 final.

"Obviously I'm really happy, I came in tonight with the aim to make semis and I did that," Lewis said. "It definitely gives me confidence to take a round off Jason, he's a very classy sprinter, so I'm really happy.

"Every time you step on the boards is a learning experience, especially for me it's my first Games," Lewis added.

"I was very happy after qualifying obviously but it's not always how fast you are, it's how you race as well," explained Glaetzer. "I made a mistake against Jason Kenny and he's a class act so he capitalised on that and got the better of me.

New Zealand's Sam Webster defeated Kenny for gold.

Lewis and Glaetzer, along with Shane Perkins will look ahead to Sunday's keirin competition.

On Saturday in Glasgow there will be four events to be decided - the women's 10km scratch race, men's para Tandem Sprint, Men's 1000m time trial and men's points race, while the women's sprint qualifying and early rounds will be held.

Cycling Australia