Inside the Olympics with Tony Gibb: Gold rush and security risks

We’re proud to have access to former world silver and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist – and now Eurosport commentator – Tony Gibb, who is providing us with a daily insider’s view of life in and around the Olympic velodrome. Here’s his view of the second day of track action yesterday (Friday).

The GB gold rush continues

Well, no rubbish today about my trip to the track or my run-in with a black cab driver. Today is simply about the bike riding.

Gold for Pendleton after the disappointment of the team sprint (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Put simply, GB were unstoppable! Vicky Pendleton won the keirin with a dominance I have never seen her show before, and with such power, speed and superior tactics it was a joy to watch. She moved women’s racing on to a new level today. Utterly fantastic, confirmation that retirement is just days away, yet while in this form it seems a waste, it’s understandable given the years of commitment.

In the men’s team pursuit, New Zealand took a deserved bronze but this night was all about the ‘old firm’. As the Aussies and Brits lined up for the start the velodrome hushed with tension, then the six bleeps from the starting system (the longest ten seconds I have ever spent stationary on a bike). And then it was on, with the Brits – Steven Burke, Ed Clancy, Pete Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas – taking almost half a second out in the opening lap. They held it there for a few laps until the golden-clad quartet brought the gap back. I sensed all along that this was to be their undoing. Despite the mind games they tried to play in qualification and the rounds, deep down I think everyone sensed they were going to come up short, and eventually come up short they did. The British quartet put the hammer down and finished with a blistering new world record of 3.51.659, nearly three full seconds ahead.

I don’t care who you are …

Brad Wiggins was in the crowd with wife Cath and the kids and he was good enough to come down to the track centre and give me an interview. He wanted to congratulate the team pursuit boys. He had received a standing ovation earlier in the night but all he kept saying was “it’s not about me, it’s about the lads”. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, a true, true gent!

Does this man look like a security risk? (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

What happened next will haunt me forever. In a flurry of branded t-shirt and tabard activity I was told that he needed to leave the track centre with immediate effect. Apparently his accreditation didn’t have the necessary number on it – really! Yeah, but it’s Brad and he really wants to just say well done to the TP boys … “I don’t care. we are not having the medal ceremony until he leave this area.” Yes, they were serious! Apparently he was presenting a security risk. I don’t know the name of the bloke that was with him, but going by the size of him and the “I’m a nice guy but I can kill you with a spoon” look that came with him I’m guessing he had all the high-level security he needed!

A last mention to the team pursuit girls – Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell – who qualified for Saturday’s main competition in a world record time of 3:15.669, nearly four seconds clear of the rest of the field. Every British rider who has taken to the track so far has broken the world record in competition. Incredible stuff.

Roll on tomorrow, I say. At this rate, given how lucky I’m being, Elvis with be giving me an interview!

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