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2006 Commonwealth Games - JR
Melbourne, Australia, March 16-26, 2006
Day 4 - March 19: Womens 3,000m individual pursuit; Mens team sprint & 20km scratch race
By Mal Sawford
Three more gold medals were decided on the final night of racing in Melbourne, with three different Commonwealth nations winning. Australia added another to its total when hometown favourite Katie Mactier beat compatriot Kate Bates in the women's individual pursuit (see full report), with England's comeback girl Emma Jones taking the bronze medal.
The men's team sprint (see full report) saw a showdown between the strong teams from England and Scotland, with the Scots scoring their first ever Commonwealth Games gold medal in cycling in a close final. The team of Chris Hoy, Craig Maclean, and Ross Edgar accounted for England's trio of Matthew Crampton, Jason Queally, and Jamie Staff by just 0.027 seconds. Australia had to settle for bronze this time, with Perkins, Kelly and Bayley beating the New Zealand team.
The final event of the track meet was the men's 20km scratch race (see full report), where the Isle of Man's Mark Cavendish won his country's first cycling medal for 40 years when he beat Ashley Hutchinson (Australia) and James McCallum (Scotland). The trio, together with Timothy Gudsell (New Zealand) and Zack Bell (Canada) had lapped the field early on, and were the only ones in contention for a medal.
Womens 3,000m individual pursuit
Local girl Katie Mactier was an unbackable favourite going into the heats of the pursuit. The reigning world champion's stiffest opposition was expected to come from team mate Kate Bates, and the heat rides produced no surprises in terms of the times posted; but weren't incident free.
The surprise came during the final heat, with Mactier riding against Wendy Houvenaghel (England), the top ranked rider from this season's world cup. Mactier caught her opponent before the 2000 metre mark, but needed to continue on to record a qualifying time. As Mactier cruised past, the English rider latched onto her wheel, and after a half lap rest, pulled out to move back in front of the astonished Australian. "I was a bit frazzled by the English girl" said Mactier. "That was a first for me; I've never had that happen before."
Mactier was forced to overtake Houvenaghel for a second time, and eventually stopped the clock in 3:30.290, a full two seconds under Sarah Ulmer's previous Commonwealth record. Houvenaghel recorded a time under 3:40, which would have seen her contest the bronze medal ride off, but was disqualified for her bizarre passing manoeuvre (see full report and photos).
Mens team sprint
Two impressive rides from the Scottish team of Ross Edgar, Craig McLean and Chris Hoy gave them the gold medal in the team sprint – the first cycling gold to go somewhere other than the Australian or English teams.
England's team of Matthew Crampton, Jason Queally and Jamie Staff set the time to beat in qualifying with a 44.564, but the Scots were up to the challenge, recording 44.265 in the next heat, the second-fastest time by any British team in any competition.
The Australian team saw new lead off rider Shane Perkins, another home town boy, rip out a sub eighteen second lap – something the Aussies have been lacking in recent years, and according to head coach Martin Barras, "Now we really have a team sprint team." Ryan Bayley and Shane Kelly anchored the Australian effort and came agonizingly close to matching England's efforts, but fell short by a mere 0.033 seconds (see full report and photos).
Mens 20km scratch race
After Scotland had ended the Australia/England clean sweep of gold medals in the penultimate race of the track competition, a win to a rider from the Isle of Man - the country's first Commonwealth cycling medal since the 60's 0 was something special. A lengthy delay before the medal ceremony had one wag in the crowd asking whether they still had to compose a national anthem, but the win by Mark Cavendish, one half of the British world champion madison team was hardly an upset.
The 80 lap race offered none of the non-stop excitement of the points race once five riders succeeded in taking a lap from the bunch in the opening laps. Joining Cavendish in the winning move were Australian Ashley Hutchinson, Canada's Zach Bell, James McCallum (Scotland) and Timothy Gudsell (New Zealand). Once the lap was taken, the next sixty laps could only be described as mundane, with each of the five countries represented keen to ensure that no one else had the opportunity to gain a lap (see full report and photos).
Women's 3000m individual pursuit Final for bronze 1 Emma Jones (England) 3.40.057 (49.078km/h) 2 Alison Shanks (New Zealand) 3.40.878 (48.896km/h) Final for gold 1 Katie Mactier (Australia) 3.35.196 (50.187km/h) 2 Katherine Bates (Australia) 3.37.089 (49.749km/h) Men's team sprint Final for bronze 1 Australia 44.719 (60.377km/h) Ryan Bayley Shane Kelly Shane Perkins 2 New Zealand 46.366 (58.232km/h) Justin Grace Nathan Seddon Adam Stewart Final for gold 1 Scotland 44.282 (60.973km/h) Ross Edgar Chris Hoy Craig Maclean 2 England 44.309 (60.936km/h) Matthew Crampton Jason Queally Jamie Staff Men's 20km scratch race Final 1 Mark Cavendish (Isle Of Man) 23.05.540 (51.965km/h) 2 Ashley Hutchinson (Australia) 3 James McCallum (Scotland) 4 Timothy Gudsell (New Zealand) 5 Zack Bell (Canada) 6 Jonathan Matthew Bellis (Isle Of Man) 7 Evan Oliphant (Scotland) 8 Mark Richard Kelly (Isle Of Man) 9 Martin Gilbert (Canada) 10 Greg Henderson (New Zealand) 11 Garth Conrad Thomas (Republic of South Africa) 12 Mohd Zahit. Mohd Sayuti (Malaysia) 13 Ben Kersten (Australia) 14 Weng Kim Thum (Malaysia) 15 Muhammad Fauzan Ahmad Lufti (Malaysia) DQ Rob Hayles (England) DNS Horace McFarlane (Jamaica) DNS Matthew Brammeier (Wales) DNS Geraint Thomas (Wales) DNS Sean Finning (Australia) DNS Edward Clancy (England) DNS Hayden Godfrey (New Zealand) DNS Rupert Rheeder (Republic of South Africa)