This morning has seen the first three gold medals decided in the track cycling events at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, earlier speculation about whether or not venues and other facilities would be ready on time and news of withdrawal of athletes a distant memory as competition began in earnest at the Indira Gandhi sports complex.
Last week, Anna Meares of Australia had expressed disappointment that a number of British cyclists would be missing from the Delhi games, either through fears over health and security or because, like Victoria Pendleton, they are focusing on next month’s European Track Championships, which unlike the Commonwealth Games count towards qualification for London 2012.
Australia’s track cyclists are keen to avenge what Meares described as the “flogging” they got at the hands of Team GB at the Beijing Olympics, where Britain’s riders claimed eight of the ten gold medals on offer, and today the Cyclones provided a clear statement of intent for London 2012 with a clean sweep of the three golds on offer.
Fittingly, the first of those was claimed by Meares herself, defending her 500m individual time trial title, her time of 33.758 seconds setting a new Commonwealth Games record. Fellow Australian Kaarle Mcculloch got silver, just over a second down on Meares, posting a time of 34.780 seconds, with Becky James of Wales claiming bronze thanks to her time of 35.236.
In the men’s 1km time trial, Scott Sunderland also set a new Commonwealth Games record of 1 minute 01.411 seconds. Silver went to Malaysia’s Rizal Tisin with a time of 1:02.768, with New Zealand's Eddie Dawkins taking bronze after completing the distance of 1:02.777.
The day’s third and final gold medal went to Jack Bobridge in the 4,000m individual pursuit, who also set a Commonwealth Games record of 4:14.845 in qualifying before beating New Zealand’s Jesse Sergent in the final.
While some of the gloss may have been taken off the event after it was dropped from the London 2012 programme, that will matter little to Bobridge, who earlier this year set the fastest time ever under current rules, bettered only by Chris Boardman before the UCI changed the rules about bike design and riding position.
The 21-year-old Bobridge, who rides for Garmin-Transitions, quickly established a lead over Sergent and although the New Zealander managed to close the gap in the closing stages of the race, the Australian always looked in control as he won with a time of 4:17.495. Minutes before the gold medal race, another Australia-New Zealand clash had seen Bobridge’s team mate Michael Hepburn take bronze from Sam Bewley.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.