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2006 Commonwealth Games - JR

Melbourne, Australia, March 16-26, 2006

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March 21: Men’s road time trial

O'Neill rides to gold as Day takes 'beautiful' silver

By Mal Sawford in Melbourne

Nathan O'Neill (Australia)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

The Australian men's team couldn't match the clean sweep completed by the women in the morning; despite US-based professional Nathan O'Neill (Health Net) destroying the course to finish the 40 kilometres in under 49 minutes, and Ben Day of the Portuguese Carvalhelhos-Boavista team taking silver; the Australian team did not enter a third rider! New Zealand claimed the only non-Australian time trial medal of the games through the efforts of Gordon McCauley who finished almost a minute behind the two Aussies.

Just as Oenone Wood, the women's winner had done earlier in the day, O'Neill opened a commanding lead on the outward leg to the bayside suburb of Mentone. Into a stiff headwind that had blown up since the relatively calm conditions the women enjoyed in the morning, O'Neill opened a 42 second advantage over his team mate, with McCauley and Northern Ireland teammates Michael Hutchinson and David McGann the only other riders left in medal contention. "I like the tough conditions so I was pleased when the wind got up" O'Neill said later.

Day's return leg proved to be the fastest and he finished in 49:01.67, which confirmed his hold on the silver medal. As the final starter, O'Neill had the benefit of Day's split times, and matched the Queenslander's speed to the second over the undulating section of the course, leaving him with the same 42 second advantage up his sleeve for the final flat dash to the line from the 35 kilometre check point.
Understandably, O'Neill eased a fraction in the final stretch, and treated spectators at the finish line to the rare sight of a time trialist celebrating a win with a victory salute! O'Neill caught his minute man, Svein Tuft (Canada) before the turn around, and then picked off well credentialed chrono riders David George (South Africa) and Stuart Dangerfield (England) on the return leg.

Ben Day (Australia)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

The first of 72 riders off recorded an impressive time which made a mockery of his ranking for the event. Kenyan Christopher Froome stopped the clock in 53.58.01, a time which kept him on top of the standings for almost an hour as the next forty-nine starters failed to better his effort! Kiwi Logan Hutchings was next to impress, lowering the time to beat by two minutes, but his hopes of a gold medal were short lived when the next rider home, Paul Manning (England) came in faster.

New Zealand went back to the top of the leaderboard with Peter Latham's 51:21.73, but before Latham had a chance to get comfortable in the 'hot seat', Hutchinson failed by just five seconds to beat the 50 minute barrier. Day was the first rider under 50 minutes with an impressive 49:01.67, which stood as the best time until O'Neill's winning ride. The battle for the bronze saw McCauley better a disappointed Hutchinson's time by fifteen seconds, and McGann fall ten seconds short of his teammate to finish fifth.

O'Neill described his ride in typically down-to-earth terms. "It was very quick, I didn't expect it to be so fast, especially with the head wind at the start," he said after the finish - the head wind didn't affect him much. "I like the tough conditions. I just settle in with a nice high cadence early and try to hang on," he added.

It took a bit of 'negotiation' for O'Neill to get permission from his US-based Health Net team to ride the time trial at the Commonwealth Games, but the Australian time trial champion made the short trip count There won't be much time to celebrate, though. A beer this evening was in the offing, but tomorrow O'Neill returns to the US and will be racing there by Friday. "It was a hit and run mission but at least I can enjoy the moment today. That's racing and that's what I do," he said.

Gordon McCauley (New Zealand)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

Runner-up Ben Day was perfectly happy with the silver medal. "I always knew Nathan was going to be hard to beat," he said. "He started really well, and I brought it home really quickly. There were a few stressful moments there! I just want to congratulate Nathan." For Day, the biggest buzz was to race in front of a huge home crowd. "When you're racing in front of Australia it's awesome. The crowd support, family and friends are incredible and it's been a beautiful day. It's great to catch the sun again!"

Gordon McCauley can take some consolation that he salvaged a disappointing outing for the New Zealand team, coming out of semi-retirement to target the Commonwealth Games time trial and to ride for the US Monex team. "I've come here to win a medal and that's the fastest I've ever ridden 40 kilometres," he said. "All my training was geared to a sub-50 minute ride. I actually rode out above my target heart rate of 170 beats. I was up around 180-182 beats per minute but I just thought 'Oh bollocks, just go with it!'"


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mark Gunter/www.pbase.com/gunterphotograph

Images by Mal Sawford/Cyclingnews

Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com

Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com


1 Nathan O'Neill (Australia)                         48.37.29
2 Ben Day (Australia)                                 0.24.38
3 Gordon McCauley (New Zealand)                       1.13.41
4 Michael Hutchinson (Northern Ireland)               1.28.07
5 David McCann (Northern Ireland)                     1.37.90
6 Stuart Dangerfield (England)                        2.19.71
7 Svein Tuft (Canada)                                 2.32.37
8 Peter Latham (New Zealand)                          2.44.44
9 Paul Manning (England)                              3.05.56
10 David Harold George (Republic of South Africa)     3.11.45
11 Andrew Roche (Isle Of Man)                         3.18.87
12 Logan Hutchings (New Zealand)                      3.18.94
13 Zachary Michael Bell (Canada)                      3.30.16
14 Stephen Cummings (England)                         3.33.29
15 Jeremy Paul Maartens (Republic of South Africa)    4.51.86
16 Ryan Connor (Northern Ireland)                     4.57.53
17 Christopher Clive Froome (Kenya)                   5.20.72
18 Dan Craven (Namibia)                               5.45.84
19 Duncan Urquhart (Scotland)                         5.48.19
20 Matt Brammeier (Wales)                             6.21.61
21 Jacques Celliers (Namibia)                         6.32.05
22 Giocondo Schiavone (Malta)                         6.35.47
23 Graeme Ian Hatcher (Isle Of Man)                   7.02.29
24 Arno Viljoen (Namibia)                             7.11.85
25 Etienne Bonello (Malta)                            7.24.92
26 Sam Firby (Jersey)                                 7.37.81
27 Shahrul Neeza Mohd Razalli (Malaysia)              7.51.91
28 Alex Coutts (Scotland)                             7.54.06
29 Hedson Mathieu (Seychelles)                        8.09.18
30 Andrew William James Cook (Isle Of Man)            8.16.57
31 David Kinjah (Kenya)                               8.26.84
32 Yannick Lincoln (Mauritius)                        8.29.33
33 Colin Mayer (Mauritius)                            8.29.85
34 Christopher Walker (Gibraltar)                     8.53.10
35 Julian Bellido (Gibraltar)                         9.05.53
36 Muhammad Fauzan Ahmad Lufti (Malaysia)             9.51.61
37 Tinga Turner (Jamaica)                            10.34.26
38 Vinesh Lal (Fiji)                                 10.36.20
39 Sigurd Haveland (Gibraltar)                       10.44.47
40 Jonathan David Massie (Bahamas)                   10.55.39
41 Charles Bryan (Anguilla)                          10.55.82
42 Kris Pradel (Anguilla)                            10.58.61
43 Sadrac Teguimaha (Cameroon)                       11.23.86
44 Duke Perrigoff Merren (Cayman Islands)            12.05.59
45 Martinien Tega (Cameroon)                         12.07.53
46 Imran Sharif (Pakistan)                           12.14.38
47 Muhammad Saleem (Pakistan)                        12.21.12
48 Robert Frances Marsh (Antigua & Barbuda)          12.30.21
49 Damien Tekou Foukou (Cameroon)                    12.37.30
50 Ronnie Bryan (Anguilla)                           12.48.28
51 Davidson Kamau Kihagi (Kenya)                     13.03.44
52 Barron Musgrove (Bahamas)                         13.07.50
53 Philip Clarke (Barbados)                          13.25.12
54 Ken Manassah Jackson (Antigua & Barbuda)          14.43.63
55 Lynn Byron Murray (Antigua & Barbuda)             14.51.09
56 Neil Thomas (British Virgin Islands)              14.56.70
57 Hilarry Moono Ng'ake (Zambia)                     16.03.34
58 James Malako (Zambia)                             16.24.63
59 Tumisang Taabe (Lesotho)                          16.27.98
60 Poloko Makara (Lesotho)                           16.56.02
61 David Matovu Kigongo (Uganda)                     18.44.36
62 Percival Navolo (Fiji)                            18.57.17
63 Rajendra Singh (Fiji)                             19.36.20
64 David Magezi (Uganda)                             19.41.36
65 Mohamed Sesay (Sierra Leone)                      19.41.92
66 Moeketsi Makatile (Lesotho)                       19.48.21
67 Alhassan Bangura (Sierra Leone)                   19.50.72
DNF Ian Smith (Belize)                                      
DNS Tyler Barbour Butterfield (Bermuda)                     

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