Glasgow 2014: Joanna Rowsell wins individual pursuit gold

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Glasgow 2014: Joanna Rowsell wins individual pursuit gold

World champion takes title while Scotland earn first cycling gold of home Commonwealth Games

World champion Joanna Rowsell (England) stormed to individual pursuit gold on day two of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Rowsell broke her personal best to qualify in first place, before storming to gold in the final against Annette Edmondson (Australia) to continue her fine recent form in the discipline and add to her ever-growing palmares.

Joanna Roswell stormed to gold in the women’s individual pursuit (pic: Alex Broadway/SWpix.com)

Scotland earned their first cycling gold medal of their home Games too, with Neil Fachie and Craig MacLean winning the men’s para cycling tandem time trial.

Jason Kenny (England), who had to qualify for the sprint quarter-finals through the repechages, also enjoyed a phenomenal day as he stunned Matthew Glaetzer (Australia) on his way to winning a silver medal.

Rowsell continued where she had left off at the World Championships with a blistering ride in the morning’s first session.

The world champion qualified in first place with a Games record effort of 3:29:038 to book her place in the final, her effort in the final heat – courtesy of a strong finish – denying Amy Cure (Australia) a shot at the gold medal.

The time was Rowsell’s personal best, beating her world championship winning time as she rode a bigger gear than that effort.

It set up a gold medal race with Annette Edmondson (Australia) who had earlier overtaken Canada’s Laura Brown in her heat on her way to a time of 3:30.728.

It was not just the Aussies in top form, either, as Laura Trott (England) caught Ciara Horne on the line as she moved into what was then a provisional second place before finishing sixth overall.

Home favourite Katie Archibald (Scotland) was also on top form, setting a furious pace on her first few laps before the Scottish star, pain etched on her face, forced her way into a bronze medal race with Cure.

Jason Kenny stunned Matthew Glaetzer on his way to winning silver in the individual sprint (pic: lex Broadway/SWpix.com)

Jason Kenny (England) also ensured he would have at least a shot at a bronze medal as he shocked Australia’s Matthew Glaetzer in the men’s sprint quarter-final.

Glaetzer, who had appeared the man to beat on the first day of qualifying, could not match the Olympic champion’s early acceleration as he went for a long one in the first heat and won from the front.

In heat two it was much closer, but Kenny edged it on the line to book his place in the semi-finals in two heats.

There was no such luck for Matt Crampton (England), however, as Ed Dawkins (New Zealand) despatched of him in two heats.

The English sprinter stayed high for much of the first heat but Dawkins took full advantage of the racing line to win comfortably.

In the second heat Crampton looked to have the advantage, but an error from the Englishman allowed Dawkins through on the inside as he joined compatriot Sam Webster and Australia’s Peter Lewis in the last four.

England’s men were unable to earn a second ride in the individual pursuit however, with Scotland also failing to qualify from the heat.

Owain Doull (Wales) ensured the home nations would be represented in the evening session, though, catching Great Britain team pursuit team-mate Steven Burke on the way to qualifying in third place.

Andy Tennant (England) had also looked good for a medal ride, riding the same heat as in-form Australian Jack Bobridge.

However, where Bobridge stormed into first place to set up an all-Australian final with Alex Edmondson, Tennant’s challenge faded on the final few laps.

And having slipped out of contention for a gold medal, Tennant could then only watch as Marc Ryan (New Zealand) qualified more than a second faster to set up a bronze medal race with Doull.

If the morning session had provided plenty of entertainment, the afternoon session roared into life with a perfect start for the home team.

Fachie and MacLean, favourites in the men’s tandem time trial, were welcomed to the track as heroes by the home crowds and exited with their place in Scottish sporting folklore assured.

MacLean, a team sprint gold medallist alongside Sir Chris Hoy in 2006, as pilot helped to set a blistering pace over the first laps, while Fachie evidentally buried himself for the cause.

With a wall of noise following them around the track, the Scottish duo had more than a second’s advantage at one point and though they could not maintain their phenomenal speed on the final lap, they held on to take the hosts’ first cycling gold of the Games.

Australia’s Kieran Modra and Jason Niblett combined to take second, with bronze going to Welsh pair Matt Ellis and Ieuan Williams.

The men’s individual sprint semi-finals provided similarly great drama, with Webster beating compatriot Dawkins in straight rounds – the second victory proving to be so comprehensive, Dawkins did not even try to chase him down.

Kenny and Lewis went to a third heat however, the Englishman coming round his opponent with perfect timing to force a decider.

And the Olympic champion stormed into the final with a brilliant final ride, seizing the racing line as they took the bell and winning from the front.

Attention then turned to the women’s individual pursuit finals, with Archibald bidding for bronze in the minor final.

The Scottish ace, though starting out slower than Cure, looked to be growing into the race as she clawed back the deficit and the two could barely be split at the halfway point.

But the 20-year-old could not open her Commonwealth Games medal haul, fading in the final few laps as Cure took gold.

Rowsell ensured the Australian dominance of the discipline at the Games was ended in the gold medal final however.

Edmondson started the quicker, but Rowsell was soon into her stride and eked out an advantage which grew lap-on-lap.

There was little let-up in Edmondson’s pace, but Rowsell was simply too good as she stormed to the gold medal in 3.31.615.

Edmondson’s brother Alex also had to settle for silver in the men’s individual pursuit, with compatriot Bobridge continuing his fine showing at this year’s Games with a blistering ride in the final.

Welshman Doull missed out on a medal in the minor final however, Ryan always looking comfortable as he beat the young Great Britain rider by more than two seconds.

Kenny, meanwhile, ensured he would be closing the evening’s session as he took his sprint final to a deciding race.

Webster took the high line in the first heat, denying Kenny the position he had used to great effect in the semi-final, and comfortably took the win – Kenny easing off on the final lap.

Kenny got his tactics spot on second time out, however, happy to allow Webster to lead the sprint out before timing his attack to perfection and edging the sprint by a fraction of a wheel length.

The final proved to be a highly tactical affair, Kenny again happy to let Webster lead it out but the New Zealand rider stole a march on the back straight.

Kenny came back strong, but Webster had earned too big a gap to be clawed back to seal gold – Kenny having to settle for a second silver to mark a productive two days for the Bolton rider, his efforts leading to him throwing up after the finish line.

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games: day two – cycling result

Women’s individual pursuit
1) Joanna Rowsell (England)
2) Annette Edmondson (Australia)
3) Amy Cure (Australia)

Men’s individual sprint
1) Sam Webster (New Zealand)
2) Jason Kenny (England)
3) Ed Dawkins (New Zealand)

Men’s para cycling tandem time trial
1) Neil Fachie/Craig MacLean (Scotland)
2) Kieran Modra/Jason Niblett (Australia)
3) Matt Ellis/Ieuan Williams (Wales)

Men’s individual pursuit
1) Jack Bobridge (Australia)
2) Alex Edmondson (Australia)
3) Marc Ryan (New Zealand)

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