The 2017 season kicks off this weekend in Australia, starting on Saturday with the four-day Santos Women’s Tour, which this year has attracted many of the big names and teams in women’s cycling. Sunday, the men will warm up their legs with the People’s Choice Classic before settling into the Tour Down Under, which begins on Tuesday the 17th. Sheree has made the trip to Adelaide and will be bringing you all the news from both the women’s and men’s races. Continue reading
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 Saturday’s track action.
More gold on Super Saturday
This was always going to be a quiet day. I was so hoping, given my luck so far this week thanks to Mr Wiggins and various stars of yesteryear rocking up, that Elvis, Michael Jackson and Shergar were going to put in a shift. No joy, however!
So on the bike riding front, Jason Kenny qualified fastest in the sprint with Gregory Bauge second – and a fairly distant second at two tenths off. To be fair, it’s not until tomorrow (Sunday) that we will really seen these guys’ teeth, Both Bauge and Kenny have progressed without raising a sweat, both getting a free ride in the first round and then defeating their opponents in the second round with looks that questioned the inconvenience of having to get off the rollers at all.
The biggest news? Shane Perkins of Western New Zealand – a new province formerly referred to as Austraila, who are having a miserable Olympics – almost had a touch-down in his heat and threw a bit of a strop before his opponent was relegated. Robert Forstemann also had to come back through the repercharge, having been heated by Nisanje Phillip. And it was no fluke, he was just out-dragged.
The news didn’t get much better for the Australians in the women’s team pursuit, losing out to Canada for the bronze medal. Team GB – represented by Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell – won the event in their sixth consecutive world record time, lowering the bench mark for the event by six seconds in the last eight months alone. The USA have obviously been working hard at this event and pulled off an impressive second place.
Forgive me if I don’t sound particularly gushing about the event and result. But the GB girls are so good and so far ahead that it was almost a non-contest. I am not taking away from their achievement in any way at all – the world records show just how special their efforts and how good a team they are – but this was a nailed-on medal from day one!
The men’s omnium is well under way. Big Ed Clancy is doing very well indeed. More on that tomorrow. I do, however, think we need a sniper in the roof to ensure withdrawal when you are eliminated. The vibrating red boxes just don’t cut it!
So in closing, a couple of extra little snippets for you. Paul McCartney was in the crowd singing Hey Jude, and Mavic have quietly released a new version of the Mavic iO. There’s something tricky going on with the hub but more significantly the spokes are much thinner. And no more news on Wiggins security breach gate.
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.
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!
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!