Posted by Editoress on 08/1/02
Another big day on the track for Australia, with gold medals in the Team Pursuit, Women's Sprint and Men's Scratch Race, plus a world record for their Team Pursuit ride. Canada's Lori-Ann Muenzer had a strong day, setting a Commonwealth Games record in the women's Flying 200m time trial sprint qualifier and winning the silver medal in the Sprint.
The day began with the Women's 3000m Pursuit qualification. Sarah Ulmer (New Zealand) set a Games record of 3:32.504, less then 2 seconds off the world record. Right behind her was Kathy Bates (Australia) with 3:32.913. All three Canadians - Lyne Bessette, Erin Carter and Clara Hughes - qualified for the semi-finals.
While the Canadians were well off the pace of the fastest riders, Hughes wasn't unhappy. "This is an experiment for me. I was happy with my time, and wanted to break my (Canadian) record, which I did by 2 seconds. All three of us set personal bests. My legs were tired today, but hopefully they will be better tomorrow.
Next year I will be taking it (track) more seriously and, you know, these girls are fast, but I'm not scared - I can go that fast."
The Team Pursuit was a showdown between Australia and England, with the English bringing in Pursuit silver medalist Bradley Wiggins to beef up their squad. However, it was not enough, as the Australians smashed the Commonwealth Games record of 4:04.034 with their ride of 3:59.583, and also set a new world record, 0.127 seconds up on the old one (set by Germany at the Sydney Olympics).
In the women's sprint, it was a battle between Muenzer, a world championship silver medalist on the Manchester track, and 500m winner Kerrie Meares. Meares is a 500m specialist crossing over to sprinting, and her newness to the discipline showed, with a relegation in the first gold medal ride for impeding Muenzer. The second ride was stopped and restarted halfway through after a watch from the stands fell onto the track, however, it didn't make much difference, as Meares won both the restarted race and the third and final ride, coming around Muenzer in the final straightaway each time. Meares' sister Anna took the bronze medal.
"I'm just taking it all on board, learning the tactics I need to know. I'm a 500m specialist, but I've been training with Sean Eadie (Australian men's silver medalist sprinter), learning to race without thinking."
Muenzer was disappointed but satisfied with her result. ""Each ride is one at a time. It wasn't the medal colour I came here looking for, but I came away with two medals and Commonwealth Games record. I'm still learning, and getting higher and higher steps each time, so I'm totally satisfied."
The final event of the evening was the Men's 20 Kilometre Scratch Race, with Graeme Brown going from the world record team pursuit team to winning the scratch race in less then an hour. Brown was one of four riders who stole a lap on the field. After the field sprinted for fifth with 6 laps to go, the remaining four went for the gold medal, with Brown easily outdistancing Huw Pritchard (Wales), Tony Gibb (England) and Lee Vertongen (South Africa).
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