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Neil Fachie and Barney Storey’s world record breaking gold medal performance was the highlight of the morning session of day three at the London Velodrome, Fachie a Paracycling debutant paired with tandem pilot veteran Barney Storey storming to an incredible 1:01.351 to claim gold ahead of Porto Loreo and Villanueva Trinidad of Spain.
However, Fachie and Storey’s victory was tainted by disappointment for teammates Anthony Kappes and Craig Maclean, who were denied the opportunity to compete following two consecutive mechanical failures at the start of their heat. Despite protests from Maclean and performance manager Gareth Sheppard, the commissaries, who’d earned the crowds displeasure the previous day, relegating Jody Cundy, stood firm and did not allow Kappes and Maclean to challenge their teammates for gold.
“It was devastating our team-mates didn't get the ride - they would've pushed us hard, I'm sure,” Fachie said.
Pilot Barney Storey shared Fachie’s disappointment, looking forward to the chance to race their teammates head to head and hammer home the GB domination of the cycling events in front of a home crowd. “We were the best bike in the race, but unfortunately that didn't include Anthony and Craig.
“We're absolutely gutted to not race against them. They're friends. We train with and against them all the time.
“It's not a very nice thing to happen. It's just horrible. It's not the way you want to win.”
Kappes was gentlemanly from the outset, applauding Fachie’s achievement from track centre and hiding his personal disappointment behind a broad smile for his victorious teammates. Later in interview, the Beijing champion was similarly magnanimous. “We know the rules. You can't hold back, it's only a kilometre. After the first one you might be tempted to ease off the pedals, but that won't win you the race. It was all or nothing.”
Kappes went on to say: “Barney and Neil are a good pairing. I believe we're faster and can hold on to our top speed for longer. I think we would've won by a 10th or two [of a second], but we didn't.
“Congratulations to Barney and Neil. They don't feel as happy as they should.”
Kappes’ pilot, veteran sprinter Craig Maclean was similarly composed and keen for answers: “Our bike let us down. We need to try to establish what it was," said the 41 year old Scot before continuing: “Rules are rules, but a lot of people have paid a lot of money to come and watch this and for them to be denied the chance to see everybody compete doesn't seem right somehow.”
Ultimately the decision was simply the application of the letter of the law a point which Gareth Sheppard made in interview after arguing his case with the commissaries. “On the second start they were prepared to carry on riding. The gun had gone, so they didn't get an opportunity to go up for a third time because the rules say they can only have a maximum of two starts.”
Despite their disappointment, both teams have a second chance at a GB 1-2 tomorrow as they compete in the ever dramatic tandem sprint.