Oceania Games - CC
Sydney, Australia, December 8-16, 1999
Track Day 3 - December 10, 1999
Gary Niewand came into the Oceania Games feeling "relaxed". His opponent in the mens' sprint final, New Zealander Anthony Peden, knew better. "I thought Gary would be the fiercest competitor coming into these games," he said after the Australian "took him to school" with a display of skill and controlled aggression to win the final 2-0 in style.
In the final race, Niewand sealed his first major international win this year with a sweeping move on the final bend, coming under Peden late in the corner and out-accelerating him on the final straight. "It was the best sprinting I've enjoyed in a long time," Niewand said. "It's great sprinting with 'the weapon', it's always a tough race," he said of the finals against the New Zealander.
Taking out the bronze was Australian Sean Eadie, who defeated Olivier Hass from New Caledonia 2-0 with a fastest time of 11.544. It would have been an Australian trifecta had Peden not moved to New Zealand and taken out citizenship, meaning the former Australian now competes against former team-mates.
At this year's World Track Championships, Peden won silver in the keirin and he "can't wait" for the keirin at the Oceania Games, to be held on Sunday. By that time he should have adjusted to local time, after arrriving in Australia on Wednesday after a 32-hour flight from Europe. Adding to Peden's disorientation was the fact he was racing in Australia in another country's jersey, a feeling he said was "a little strange".
Niewand, meanwhile, was returning to the track after a quiet winter, spent training in the gym and only taking to the road for "recovery and enjoyment". The Australian had an extended lay-off after the Atlanta Olympics and it seemed his previous form, which has seen him win world championships, as well as olympic silver and bronze medals, was proving hard to regain. In tonight's race, the crowd in the brand-new Dunc Gray Velodrome, site of the 2000 Olympics, saw a brilliant return to form.
Niewand qualified fastest with a flying 200m of 10.513, just a "bee's knee" from the Australian olympic team's qualifiying time of 10.5 seconds. A berth in the olympics squad is his major objective and while he admits he is "a long way from where I'd like to be", he is "really enjoying his racing now. "I feel the pressure is off and I can be relaxed about racing."
The two former team-mates and training partners put on a display of close-fought racing which only comes from considerable experience at the elite level. Niewand came to the games after only four weeks of track work, but "once you get out on the track, you hope the experience comes back". Tonight it did in emphatic fashion.
Qualifying - 200m flying start Time AVS 1 Gary Niewand (Aus) 10.513 68.51 2 Anthony Peden (NZ) 10.699 3 Olivier Haas (NCal) 10.710 4 Sean Eadie (Aus) 10.764 5 Kane Selin (Aus) 10.830 6 Gavin Lee (NZ) 11.237 7 Jeff Hopkins (Aus) 11.242 8 Nicolas Schneider (NCal) 11.647 9 Mathew Anderson (NZ) 12.006 Quarter Finals 1st heat 2nd heat Decider Gary Niewand (Aus) 11.554 11.537 defeated Nicolas Schneider (NCal) Anthony Peden (NZ) 11.645 11.388 defeated Jeff Hopkins (Aus) Olivier Haas (NCal) 11.647 11.49 defeated Gavin Lee (NZ) 11.554 Sean Eadie (Aus) 10.982 11.436 defeated Kane Selin (Aus) Final for 5 - 8 position Kane Selin (Aus) 11.734 Gavin Lee (NZ) Jeff Hopkins (Aus) Nicolas Schneider (NCal) Semi Finals 1st heat 2nd heat Decider Gary Niewand (Aus) 11.052 11.339 defeated Sean Eadie (Aus) Anthony Peden (NZ) 11.378 11.337 defeated Olivier Haas (NCal) Finals 1st heat 2nd heat Medals Sean Eadie (Aus) 11.489 11.544 Bronze defeated Olivier Haas (NCal) Gary Niewand (Aus) 11.326 11.873 Gold defeated Anthony Peden (NZ) Silver
The day started in controversy with Australian rider Graeme Brown disqualified for dangerous riding in the first round of the international sprint, resulting in Australia's national track coach Charlie Walsh immediately apologising to his Italian counterpart Critiano Valoppi for his charge's reckless performance on the track.
The evening ended with the dominant French team putting two riders - Arnaud Tournant and Vincent Le Quellec - into the semi finals, along with Czech rider Pavel Buran and Domenico Mei, who survived his heat against Brown, who made three dangerous moves on the Italian rider.
"I was doing it just for fun and I just wanted to make it hard for him," Brown said. The Italian has a different sense of fun and was clearly worried about further injuring a shoulder he hurt in October, particularly during a qualifying round. "I think he was very stupid. Three times he tried to crash with me. If I crash, it would be very bad for me," Mei said afterwards.
The Italians were clearly fuming after the event. The head coach was particularly upset that when Brown "bumped into him (Mei), the Australian officials were laughing". Walsh wasn't, however, but refused to comment to the media. Brown was disqualified from competing in the remainder of the games.
There was also plenty of action in the Tournant-Kelly heats, with the French rider track-standing Kelly in a bid to make him come around. Kelly stood his ground but when the French rider jumped, Kelly could not match his snap, making this sprint the third time so far at the Oceania Games that Tournant has beaten the Australian and former world champion.
"He is in great form," Kelly said. "When someone is going (well), they're going." Tournant expects to go quicker tomorrow evening "because it's not going very fast so far. 11 seconds is not great."
In the other quarter final Mei was forced to compete against team mate Gabriele Gentile. "In the race, he just becomes the opponent. As soon as the race finishes, we are friends as before," he said.
In order to qualify for his quarter final, Polish rider Marcin Mientki was forced to come through the earlier repercharge round before facing Frenchman Vincent Le Quellec, who won both heats easily. However, it was Czech rider Buran who defeated French rider Herve Gane over three heats. In the first heat, Buran's track stand forced Gane to come around and he was towed up to the line for a convincing win.
In the second heat, Gane hit back with the evening's fastest ride of 11.031 for the final 200m, but in the third Buran again proved too strong and surged from behind to take the win. In tonight's racing, Mei will meet Tournant, while Le Quellec will face up against the gutsy Czech rider Buran.
Men Sprint 1/8 final (winners progress to 1/4 finals) Time Speed Arnaud Tournant (Fra) 12.015 59.95 defeated Jame Carney (USA) Vincent Le Quellec (Fra) 11.254 64 defeated Jan Lepka (Svk) Herve Gane (NCal) 11.388 63.27 defeated Xinzhu Cheng (Chn) Gabriele Gentile (Ita) 11.92 60.4 defeated Danny Day (Aus) Domenico Mei (Ita) 11.605 62.07 defeated Shane Kelly (Aus) Pavel Buran (Cze) 11.71 61.49 defeated Marcin Mientki (Pol) Position 5-8 (Final Standings) 1 (5) Shane Kelly (Aus) 11.545 62.39 2 (6) Marcin Mientki (Pol) 3 (7) Gabriele Gentile (Ita) 4 (8) Herve Gane (NCal) Position 9-12 (Final Standings) 1 (9) Danny Day (Aus) 11.453 62.88 2 (10) Jan Lepka (Svk) 3 (11) Xinzhu Cheng (Chn) 4 (12) Jame Carney (USA) Men International Sprint 1/4 Finals 1st heat 2nd heat Decider Arnaud Tournant (Fra) 11.351 11.065 defeated Shane Kelly (Aus) Vincent Le Quellec (Fra) 11.44 11.295 defeated Marcin Mientki (Pol) Pavel Buran (Cze) 12.572 11.132 defeated Herve Gane (NCal) 11.031 Domenico Mei (Ita) 12.323 13.651 defeated Gabriele Gentile (Ita)
In the men's scratch race Australian Ashley Hutchinson finished ahead of fellow Australian Luke Roberts, with New Zealander Mathew Randall taking the bronze. Going into the race, Hutchinson said "there was not set plan. Everyone of the boys was to get a good position. We weren't to jeopardise each other."
Among the Australians to get into a good position was recent winner of the Gent Six Day race in Belgium, Scott McGrory, who attacked and built up a good lead. "I though he had a substantial lead," Hutchinson said, "but in the last five laps, the Kiwis were up there." Their chase set up the finish for the Australians, with McGrory and Roberts leading Hutchinson into a strong position for the finish. "If it came down to a sprint and I was in the bunch, I was quietly confident," he said.
After the race, McGrory said "My trying to win didn't pay off for me, but it did for the others.
"I guess it's good for tomorrow. I've proven myself in the Madison, but I need to show everyone what I can do in the Points Race. I know I can do it." McGrory comes to the Oceania Games in splendid form, after his big win in Belgium and a second place in the Zurich Six Day, where he partnered with Matthew Gilmore, who races under a Belgian licence.
Meanwhile, McGrory's partner in the Madison in the World Championships, South Australian Brett Aitken, returned home to Adelaide to be with his family as his grandmother had become seriously ill. It is yet another incident in a turbulent year for Aitken, who started the year with a serious knee problem after the Tour Down Under and then came into for the Worlds in good form, only to be taken out in bad crash midway through the Madison while in a winning position.
1 Ashley Hutchinson (Aus) 17.47.21 50.6 2 Luke Roberts (Aus) 3 Mathew Randall (NZ) 4 Brent Dawson (Aus) 5 Dayle Cheatley (NZ) 6 Anthony Chapman (NZ) 7 Scott McGrory (Aus) 8 Jean-Charles Goyetche (NCal) 9 Nigel Grigg (Aus) 10 Shane Melrose (NZ) 11 Julien Tejada (NCal) 12 Mike Michel-Villaz (NCal) 13 Mathew Anderson (NZ) 14 Christian Pierron (NCL)
Today's womens sprint saw the final selection for tomorrow's final come down to Canadian Tanya Dubnicoff and Australian Lyndelle Higginson, who faced USA rider Tanya Lindenmuth through three heats of her semi final.
Dubnicoff, meanwhile, disposed of favourite and World Championship silver medallist Michelle Ferris in two heats, recording a 12.446 time for her fist win.
Higginson was delighted to be in the final. "With the competition I'd be disappointed if I wasn't in the top four," she said, recognising that riders such as Ferris and Lindenmuth were clearly not at their peak after a busy year, culminating with the worlds in Berlin last month.
Although Higginson also competed in Berlin, on return to Australia training was abandoned for a holiday in Queensland, before returning to the bike and gym prior to the games. No harm in being fresh, as they say.
"I'm still in reasonably good form, but there's a long way to go. It's easier to come up if you're not down too low," she said after her semi final win. Racing resumes tomorrow.
1/8 Repercharge (Qualifying was held 9/12/99 - see day 2) Time Speed (kmh) 1 Kerrie Meares (Aus) 12.945 55.64 2 Elisabeth Williams (NZ) 3 Becky Quinn (USA) 1 Rosealee Hubbard (Aus) 12.972 55.51 2 Joanne Kiesanowski (NZ) 3 Rahna Demarte (Aus) 1/8 Final (winners progess to 1/4 finals) Time Speed (kmh) Tanya Dubnicoff (Canada) 13.158 54.75 defeated Becky Quinn (USA) Lyndell Higginson (Aus) 12.593 57.46 defeated Rahna Demarte (Aus) Tanya Lindenmuth (USA) 12.193 59.06 defeated Rosealee Hubbard (Aus) Michelle Ferris (Aus) 12.626 57.05 defeated Kerrie Meares (Aus) Magali Faure-Humbert (Fra) 12.755 56.47 defeated Joanne Kiesanowski (NZ) Cuihua Jiang (Chn) 12.938 55.68 defeated Elisabeth Williams (NZ) Position 5-8 (Final Standings) Time Speed (kmh) 1 (5) Cuihua Jiang (Chn) 12.858 56.03 2 (6) Kerrie Meares (Aus) 3 (7) Magali Faure-Humbert (Fra) 4 (8) Rosealee Hubbard (Aus) 1/4 Final Sprints 1st heat 2nd heat Decider Tanya Dubnicoff (Canada) 12.839 13.118 defeated Rosealee Hubbard (Aus) Lyndell Higginson (Aus) 12.340 13.46 defeated Kerrie Meares (Aus) Tanya Lindenmuth (USA) 12.319 12.269 defeated Cuihua Jiang (Chn) Michelle Ferris (Aus) 12.317 12.779 defeated Magali Faure-Humbert (Fra) Semi Final Sprints Tanya Dubnicoff (Canada) 12.446 12.638 defeated Michelle Ferris (Aus) Lyndell Higginson (Aus) 12.821 12.397 defeated Tanya Lindenmuth (USA) 12.625
Darryn Harris (Aus) 48.168 56.06 Gold Mark Renshaw (Aus) Kial Stewart (Aus) Jason Allen (NZ) 50.306 53.68 Silver Richard Bowker (NZ) Greg Ardell (NZ) Steeve Clavier (NCal) Bronze Nicolas Nagle (NCal) Dimitry Paul (NCal)
Finals - Under 19 Mens Individual Pursuit Time AVS 1 Andrew Mason (Aus) 3.26.94 52.19 Gold 2 Hayden Roulston (NZ) 3.29.99 51.43 Silver 1 Joel Leonard (Aus) 3.33.41 50.61 Bronze 2 Jonathan Davis (Aus) 3.34.26 50.41 Overall Standings 1 Andrew Mason (Aus) 2 Hayden Roulston (NZ) 3 Joel Leonard (Aus) 4 Jonathan Davis (Aus) 5 Marc Ryan (NZ) 6 Jason Allen (NZ) 7 Rory Sutherland (Aus) 8 Yohan Honore (NCal)