Posted by Editoress on 04/6/12
Day One Recap:
Thursday's opening Omnium action consisted of the Flying lap, 120 lap Points Race, and an Elimination event. Great Britain's rider Ed Clancy took an early lead in the overall from the Flying lap, but was pegged back by strong performances from Canadian Zach Bell in the Points Race and Australian Glenn O'Shea, who retained a top five placing in all three events.
Omnium standings after round three:
Glenn O'Shea (Aus) 10 points
Zach Bell (Can) 16
Ed Clancy (GBr) 18
Elia Viviani (Ita) 19
Ho Sung Cho (Kor) 19
The program for Day Two consisted of a four kilometre Individual Pursuit, a 60 lap Scratch Race and a one kilometre Time Trial.
A notable omission from the day's line up was Italy's Elia Viviani, who crashed badly with two laps remaining in the Points Race. Viviani suffered a hairline fracture of the lower right part of his pelvis in the crash, but unaware of this at the time and went on to compete in the Elimination (where he was relegated for dangerous riding, finishing ninth).
Event 4: Individual Pursuit
Germany's Nikias Arndt once again set the time to beat, clocking 4:28.240 in the early rounds. Denmark's Lasse Norman Hansen (a former Junior world champion in the event), sitting overall in seventh position after a disappointing Elimination result, rebounded with a stunning 4:22.330. No one would come close to this time, with Bell clearly the best of the rest with a 4:26.786 to finish second. Clancy was a second slower to claim third. The surprising result was with overnight leader O'Shea, who finished sixth after clocking 4:28.919. Bell's Pursuit effort narrowed the gap to O'Shea down to two points.
Omnium standings after round four:
Glenn O'Shea 16 points
Zach Bell 18
Ed Clancy 21
Lasse Norman Hansen 25
Ho Sung Cho 27
Event 5: 60 Lap Scratch Race
As riders lined up to commence the Scratch race, it would appear that Bell and O'Shea had eyes only for each other. As soon as the riders rolled away, Bell was straight onto O'Shea's wheel. The conservative approach didn't last for long though. Early attacks from O'Shea and New Zealand's Shane Archbold forced Bell onto the defensive, before a flurry of counter attacks strung out the field. The bunch was altogether with 40 laps remaining, with the brief respite shattered by Spain's Eloy Teruel Rovira and Dane Lasse Norman Hansen. The two were quickly joined by Bell, O'Shea and Archbold. The five joined forces well, while those missing from the break, including Clancy and Ireland's Martyn Irvine, tried to muster enthusiasm from the bunch to chase.
The efforts from Teruel Rovira began to show, as the Spaniard began to drop wheels and struggle to remain with the break riders. O'Shea also appeared to tire. Consistent strong pulls from Hansen and Bell, who looked the most comfortable of the group, kept the momentum intact and the five were able to lap the field with 30 laps remaining.
With a one lap breather, Bell took the opportunity to go straight back on the offensive with an immediate attack. The effort forced a tiring O'Shea to dig deep to close the gap along with a fresher looking Hansen.
It became quite obvious that Bell's race plan was to tire the legs of the entire bunch with his persistent attacking. With 20 laps remaining he attacked the field again, forcing Hansen, O'Shea and Clancy to yet again commit to closing it down.
With nine laps to go, four lapped riders hit out at the bunch, triggering a late charge by Teruel Rovira and O'Shea that forced Bell and Archbold to respond. With the entire field strung out over 200 metres, the five race leaders managed to find each other in the closing laps and weave their way through the traffic to determine final placings. Hansen took a convincing win over Bell and a late charging Archbold and O'Shea. Archbold's effort was an added bonus to Bell, who could now claim equal points with O'Shea leading into the final round. Hansen's late run of form, winning the individual pursuit and the scratch race was also a concern. A strong time trialler, was he capable of a brilliant time trial to unseat the leaders?
Omnium standings after round five:
Zach Bell 20 points
Glenn O'Shea 20
Lasse Norman Hansen 26
Edward Clancy 28
Shane Archbold 34
Event 6: 1,000m Time Trial
Unsurprisingly, the top ten riders from the overall Omnium accounted for nine of the top ten time trial times. Spain's Teruel Rovira was the only rider to lose major ground after posting a 1:05.829.
But let's face it: you didn't want to know that, did you? The only result that mattered was who was quicker over 1,000m: O'Shea or Bell. The fastest would win Gold. Bell, with the faster pursuit time, was set up on the front straight with O'Shea on the back in front of the dedicated Australian ‘Fan Zone' (which sounded remarkably similar to the rest of the packed stadium).
O'Shea stumbled with his start but recovered to post a 19.463 first lap. It also wasn't the cleanest of starts for Bell with a slight wobble from the blocks, and he posted a 20.090 in response. As each lap split flashed up on the results screen, the crowd noise level rose another decibel. O'Shea was slowly pulling away from Bell, buoyed by the electricity of a home crowd. O'Shea rounded the kilo off with a 1:03.042 (the second fastest of the evening), with Bell in at 1:04.216, finishing eighth in the event but enough to secure silver.
On one side of the track a fairytale was complete. O'Shea, making his comeback from serious illness and major setbacks to claim a place on the Australian Olympic team in front of a packed stadium of supporters only two hours from where he grew up. On the other side of the track, a terribly disappointed Bell, winning his second silver medal in this discipline and denying Canada a male track gold medal that has eluded the team since 1982.
Bell should take away the strong positives from the event. He was clearly the strongest rider in all of the mass start and endurance events, and will have gained excellent experience of performing in front of a huge vocal crowd that is not necessarily gunning for you. He also has four months to work on nailing the other areas of the complex event, and now has the extra motivation to turn that medal to gold.
Final Omnium standings:
1 Glenn O'Shea 22 points
2 Zach Bell 28
3 Lasse Norman Hansen 29
4 Edward Clancy 29
5 Shane Archbold 38
Recap by Monique Hanley