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Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games
Manchester, England, July 27 - August 3, 2002
August 1 - Men's 20km Scratch Race, National Cycling Centre
Brown doubles up
By Gerry McManus, Cyclingnews correspondent in Manchester
In an astonishing display of strength and confidence, Graeme Brown (Australia) completed a double gold medal performance by winning the 20km scratch race at the Commonwealth games in Manchester on Thursday 1st August.
Almost straight after winning the team pursuit, he was soon in the bunched action as 25 contenders fought out the first of the endurance events.
A number of break-away attempts had failed but at quarter distance, Huw Pritchard and Lee Vertongen (NZL) succeeded in escaping the bunch.
Brown had seen the danger and jumped across and all three were working closely together. Seeing the bunch closing down for the evening, Tony Gibb (England) put the hammer down to bridge the gap with the full support of the encouraging audience.
By half distance with the major teams showing no interest in the chase, the hard working quartet lapped the field. Gibb was the most anxious of the four and stayed near the front supported by team mate Tim Buckle and Vertongen was not far behind.
With six laps to go, the four were requested to pull back so that the bunch could contest the minor placings in a bunch sprint and Jean Pierre Van Zyl (RSA) emerged the first across the line.
With the whole track to themselves, the eased their way around four laps with Brown in the lead. With one and a half laps to go, Gibb was the first to break, attacking down the banking in an attempt to shake up the rest and gain a place near the front for final lap. When the sprint did begin in earnest, first Brown came past to take the gold, followed by Pritchard, winning the first cycling medal for Wales in over 30 years and Gibb held on for the bronze.
Panaria professional Brown announced that it was one of the best nights of his life:
"I actually felt pretty good after the pursuit," he said: "The plan was for me and Mark (Renshaw) to cruise around but it didn't work out like that. It finished much better."
Silver medallist Pritchard was complimentary about the Australian: "It's never good to finish second but when you finish second in the Commonwealth games to someone who has finished second in a stage of the Giro D'Italia then you can't complain."
This is the first major medal for 26-year-old Gibb who has only been full time cyclist for two years. The Londoner is part of British Cycling's world class performance plan and has been competing in the world cup events in the scratch and Madison events and is looking to the world championships as his next goal.
Photos by Gerry McManus
Photos supplied by D.J. Clark
1 Graeme Brown (Australia) 24.14.660 (49.492 km/h) 2 Huw Pritchard (Wales) 3 Tony Gibb (England) 4 Lee Vertongen (New Zealand) 5 Jean-Pierre Van Zyl (South Africa) 6 Greg Henderson (New Zealand) 7 Ashley Hutchinson (Australia) 8 Mark Renshaw (Australia) 9 Hayden Godfrey (New Zealand) 10 Alwyn Mcmath (Northern Ireland) 11 Mark Kelly (Isle of Man) 12 Ross Muir (Scotland) 13 Carlitos Jones (Barbados) 14 Richard Chapman (Scotland) 15 Emile Abraham (Trinidad & Tobago) 16 James Mccallum (Scotland) 17 Will Wright (Wales) 18 Paul Sheppard (Wales) 19 Tim Buckle (England) 20 Steve Cummings (England) DNF Dean Edwards (South Africa) DNF Horace Mcfarlane (Jamaica) DNF Christian Tavares-Finson (Jamaica) DNF Ako Kellar (Trinidad & Tobago) DNF Elisah Greene (Trinidad & Tobago)