Australian cyclists on a roll
31 July 2002
Australia is becoming the team to beat as they gobble up the medals on the road and the track.
Cadel Evans cycles to victory at Rivington
So far they have claimed eight medals from a possible 21 in seven events. This includes three golds, commencing with an impressive gold, silver and bronze clean sweep in the men’s road time trial.
In the opening event at Rivington Pike, Cadel Evans won the gold after bettering team-mate Michael Rogers’ provisional best time while Nathan O’Neill’s Herculean final push for the line scooped him the bronze.
“I had my hopes, you can always dream, but I thought all three was beyond us. I’m going to have to pinch myself,” said Evans after Australia’s 1-2-3.
Dominating the competition was team manager Michael Flynn’s objective. “Our focus is on actually being the No 1 nation in the Commonwealth in a step to being in the top three nations in the world,” explained Flynn before competition.
The only other team giving the Australians a run for their money is Canada. With seven medals, including three golds, they are not far behind.
The outstanding performances of these two teams have left their competitors in the shade. The next three highest ranking countries - England, Scotland and New Zealand - have so far managed to pull together only seven medals between them.
Australia’s girls are just as potent as the men, picking up five medals to date. Anna Millward was the first female to add to the collection in the women’s road time trial.
Back on the track, Kerrie Meares was next as she won the women’s 500m time trial, setting a new Commonwealth record over two laps in the process. The next day Mary Grigson added a bronze in the women’s mountain bike event.
On Tuesday evening, Katherine Bates and Rochelle Gilmour sprinted to gold and silver respectively in the women’s points race.
The Australian camp are again poised to receive more gongs as they go into the gold medal match of the men’s 4000m team pursuit against England on Thursday.
As the fastest qualifiers, shattering the old Commonwealth record by six seconds, gold medal No 4 is possibly only a day away.
Info News Service/lt/nc