The penultimate day of the Glasgow 2014 Track Cycling turned out to be a tremendous one with Team Scotland’s Neil Fachie and Craig MacLean taking Gold in the Para-Cycling Sprint B Tandem, their second Gold of the Games.
Despite finishing second in the qualifying stages just behind Australian pairing Kieran Modra and Jason Niblett, the Scottish pairing out-sprinted the Welsh duo, Matthew Ellis and pilot Ieuan Williams in two straight heats in the semi-final, putting them into their second Gold medal race of the Games.
In the first heat of the finals, the Scots fell behind and saw Modra and Niblett take the win. Fighting back in the second heat they made it an even 1-1 and the crowd roared as the pair took to the boards for the third and final time. You could see by their faces that the pair gave it their all and crossed the line in spectacular style to claim their second Gold.
Craig said, “It was painful, it was definitely a war of attrition out there. Both tandems, having raced yesterday, we’re dealing with a lot of fatigue, racing throughout the day, this morning. We’re pretty surprised we won the last two rides, they beat us pretty convincingly in the first ride of the final and we didn’t think we’d come back from that, but lo and behold, with the occasion we managed to lift it a little bit.”
Neil added, “As Craig said, fatigue was such a major issue there, for both tandems to be fair, and just the roar of that crowd, they were just roaring us round and I knew how close we were to achieving something that, if we didn’t win it we would have regretted it for the rest of our lives. So we just had to do it and I can’t thank the crowd enough for the support, I mean the noise is just sensational.
“I walked through the mixed zone after that first race and I seriously thought that was our day done and there was no way back – it’s amazing how pain disappears when you win. Just an amazing occasion and I’m lost for words to be honest with you.
“This is what we dreamed of, and certainly it’s certainly something we hoped to achieve, but the actual doing of it, the expectation levels, I just didn’t expect it to be like this.”
In the Women’s Sprint qualifying Scotland’s Jenny Davis and Elinor Richardson went on to the track one after the other, setting good times of 11.580 and 12.211 respectively. Davis’s time placed her 7th, sending her through to the quarter-finals. Richardson finished just outside a qualifying position in 9th. The fastest qualifying time came from Australia’s Stephanie Morton who set a time of 10.984.
In the quarter-finals Davis went head to head with recently crowned 500 metre Time Trial Gold medallist, Australia’s most successful female cyclist Anna Meares. Despite a brilliant effort from Davis, Meares won two out of two heats, putting Davis out of the competition.
In the 5th – 8th placing race a touch of wheels sent Davis crashing off her bike. However the ex-Judo player proved she was made of tough stuff and jumped back on to claim 8th position.
Elsewhere, Scottish riders Mark Stewart, Evan Oliphant and Alistair Rutherford all made it through to the final of the Points Race. In the final Stewart finished 10th, Oliphant 11th and Rutherford did not finish. Bruce Croall finished 8th in the 1,000 metre Time Trial and Charline Joiner, Eileen Roe and Katie Archibald missed out in the Women’s Scratch Race but will be back tomorrow in the Points Race.
The fourth and final day of Track Cycling will begin on Sunday at 15:00 with the Women’s Para Sport 1,000m Time Trial B Tandem, the Women’s 25km Points Race, Men’s 20km Scratch Race and Men’s Keirin.
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