Posted by Editoress on 03/18/06
Commonwealth Games Melbourne, Australia
Reports made possible by the support of MAXXIS tires
Track Day 2
Men's Sprint Finals
Women's Sprint Finals
Team Pursuit Final
Canada's Travis Smith claimed his second medal of the Commonwealth Games on Saturday, winning a bronze in the Men's Sprint, behind Olympic champion Ryan Bayley (Australia) and Ross Edgar (Scotland). England won both gold medals in the other two events contested - the Women's Sprint and the Team Pursuit (Canada did not enter either event).
Travis Smith proved that his silver medal in the Keirin yesterday definitely was not a fluke by taking the bronze in the Sprint. Smith qualified fifth in the flying 200 metre time trial, and went up against Australian Shane Perkins in the first round of 12 riders. Perkins is considered to be one of Australia's future champions, and he pushed Smith hard in their ride. The Canadian had to come around him on the outside and barely inched ahead by the line to move on to the quarterfinals.
In the quarter finals he was up against Josiah Ng (Malaysia), who was expected to be a strong contender. However, Smith easily won in two rides to move to the semi-finals against Edgar. Edgar took the first ride, but Smith came back with a tactically savvy second ride win. He forced Edgar to take the lead, and then came by on the last lap. The pair came close to touching in the wild last lap, and Edgar did smack Smith's rear wheel with his front just as they were crossing the finish line. It wasn't intentional, and both riders were given a warning.
Unfortunately, Smith couldn't repeat his strategy in the third ride, and Edgar moved on to the gold medal final. Smith was up against Matthew Crampton of England for the bronze, and easily won in two rides, outpowering the Brit.
Bayley moved smoothly through the heats, qualifying second and not losing a single heat. When it came to the gold final against Edgar, he allowed the Scot to dictate the rhythm of the first heat, and had to put in a powerful surge to win it. In the second and deciding heat he took no chances, powering away all through the last lap.
"All day I was fighting flat legs" explained Smith. "So it forced me to try and sprint tactically, which isn't what I'm best at - I'm better using my power. It was good, because I learned a lot, like I found out that I'm better when I'm in front, because I can control the race better.
In the first race I let him (Edgar) go to the front. in the second I changed it and took the front myself, which came out good."
Smith also spoke about which medal was more meaningful to him: "They're actually both good, but in different ways. In the Keirin, while it may not be my best event, I expected to do well. But in the Sprint, it has been my best event all year, I have been excelling at it. Since I had no legs, that made it mentally tough, so I had to overcome that by sprinting smarter."
There were only six riders entered in the women's sprint, but there were three riders who really matter - the Meares sisters (Anna and Kerrie), and world champion Victoria Pendleton (England). The draw put the Meares sisters up against each other one semifinal, and that proved to be the most entertaining sprint of the evening.
It was quickly obvious who was stronger - Olympic champion Anna. Hervsister Kerrie tried to negate this advantage slowing the race to a crawl, including a trackstand on the finishing stretch. Anna matched her wheel for wheel, but the first ride had to be restarted when Kerrie touched the outside wall with her wheel when standing still. Once they decided to race, Anna quickly took charge, winning in two straight.
Pendleton also had few troubles on her ladder, setting the stage for these two regualr rivalsto face off. Pendleton took the first ride, Meares fought back take the second heat win, but could not overcome Pendleton's speed for the final race.
This race boiled down to England and Australia, the two regular rivals for this title. Once the race began, it was clear that England was the superior squad, and it immediately began to chip away at the time gap, to eventually win by nearly a second and a half. New Zealand caught Malaysia in the bronze medal race.
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