Inside the Olympics with Tony Gibb: Bagging medals, blagging seats

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 Sunday’s action from the velodrome – and the main Olympic stadium.

Another medal for Clancy

Track World Cups last three days, occasionally four, while the World Championships last five days. At those we have the five Olympic events plus a scratch race, individual pursuit, kilo/500-metre time trial and men’s Madison. So why, why oh why has the Olympic schedule taken six days? The sessions have been short, very short. I just think we could have had it all wrapped up a bit quicker, and quite a few of the riders who I have spoken to feel the same.

So when I got to the track tonight, I saw the track manager. I asked him what idiot decided it would be a good idea to kick Brad out the other day. He said that would be me. Well, that was an awkward moment! Anyway, we discussed it. He told me it was holding up worldwide TV pictures. I told him it wasn’t. We disagreed and walked away from each other. Never liked him anyway!

So back to the bike racing, There was just one round of the sprints today. Like I said, it all could have been wrapped up much quicker.

But tonight belongs to ‘Red’ Clancy. Okay, so he had a howler in the scratch race, but Glenn O’Shea far exceeded Ed’s troubles by at times looking like he had just finished the men’s triple jump, the size of the squares he was pedalling. Elia Viviani and Bryan Coquard were head and shoulders above the rest in the elimination race, as they had been all year, but despite Clancy’s best efforts of taking out Lasse Norman Hansen by knocking him off he took a lap in the scratch and held his own in the elimination. The Dane posted the fastest time in the pursuit, and with Clancy PBing with a very close second it was all set for a final showdown.

The Dane held on in the kilo, Viviani went out very fast and parked in the bus stop, Coquard held his own for silver and Clancy produced a time only two-tenths outside Sir Chris Hoy’s winning time and Olympic record from Athens. With three team pursuits and the rest of the omnium events in his legs in the last four days. Machine!

In other news, GB admit that they have round wheels without magic dust in them, the French still accuse their own national wheel sponsor and French brand Mavic of colluding with GB to have placed 17 hamsters inside each disc wheel to run furiously when needed to assist in setting world records. Oh and the hot pants have been proven to just be McLaren F1 tyre warmers painted blue.

Star-spotting at the 100 metres final

Apparently this Gerrard bloke is quite good at football?

In other, other news, and the highlight of my games so far, through furious blagging and copious … Sod it, I’ll just admit I lied through my teeth and wangled my way in to the 100 metres final! My good friend Will Carling was watching so I made some lame excuse to the purple t-shirt on the door that I just wanted to say hi to Lisa and then managed to hot seat my way around until 21:50 and see the most popular event of the Games.

Usain Bolt delivered but sod that, I was sat behind the Queen (well, Dame Helen Mirren), Steven Gerrard and somewhat amazingly just across the stairs from the one and only Lionel Messi! I have to admit I was slightly star-struck, but only slightly though! Normality will resume tomorrow.

Inside the Olympics with Tony Gibb: Super Saturday

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!

Kenny was blisteringly fast in the early stages of the men’s sprint (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

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.

Night all!

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!