Published: 8 April 2018
Images by: JSH PIX
The best of today’s action was definitely saved for last at the Anna Meares Velodrome. Endurance cyclist Mark Stewart won Team Scotland’s fourth gold medal in the Men’s 40km Points Race.
Stewart put in the performance of his life to complete a successful day on the boards that also saw Neah Evans take silver in the Women’s 10km Scratch Race and Callum Skinner win bronze in the Men’s 1000m Time Trial.
The final medal count rose to 10 for the four days of track. This was made up of four Gold, four Silver, and two Bronze.
Mark said: “This is definitely up there with one of the good days. I knew going into this race that the Individual Pursuit and the Scratch Race were just activations for today and it worked. It doesn’t always but it did today, and I still can’t believe it.”
Men’s 40km Points Race
Stewart led for the majority of arguably the most gripping race the Games had seen to date, with the palpable, post-race exhaustion of the winner a stark illustration of his commitment to a race set at a blistering pace.
Critical to his success were the three, 20-point bonus points collected throughout the 160-lap encounter, combined with point-scoring finishes in six of the 16 opportunities available to racers every ten laps.
Despite leading the race from early on, Stewart was rarely out of sight of New Zealand rival Campbell Stewart, who secured a maximum (5) points from each of the last seven sprints as the race drew to a climax.
It was then, with double points on offer in the last lap, that Stewart delivered his fitting finale, timing his last effort to perfection on the final bend to round and outscore his opponent and guarantee the gold.
Stewart added: “This was the first time ever I’ve been able to sing on the podium. It was a nice moment. The European Championships are at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow this August, which now a target and it’s nice to go into that with a Commonwealth title on my back.”
Women’s 10km Scratch Race
Mark wasn’t the only medal winner of the session however. Earlier in the evening, Neah Evans took a spectacular silver medal in the Women’s 10km Scratch Race. She was joined in the race by Eileen Roe and Katie Archibald who finished the race in the top 5.
Neah said: “I’m really happy. I had had to work quite hard to close a gap, having been caught on the back foot a bit. I was hoping to get to the front sooner and dominate but the speed they were putting down made it really difficult to move up the field. Coming into the Games I’d have been delighted with a silver and a bronze. I was much more focused on my performance than results. I felt I rode much better tonight so I’m pleased to have made an improvement.”
Men's 1000m Time Trial
The third medal of the evening came in the Men’s 1000m Time Trial, where Callum Skinner put in an impressive 1:01.083 time to come third.
The Olympic medallist’s world standing was recognised by his listing as the penultimate rider, with his four-lap time edging teammate Jonathan Wale out of the top three into fifth.
Callum said after the race: “I’ve had the odd result here and there but I’m not at the pace I want to be at the moment, or getting the results that I want, but to pick up little markers to show we’re getting back to where we want to be is quite encouraging. This is another stepping stone towards Tokyo [2020 Olympics].
The next chance to see the Scottish riders take to their bikes will be on the 10th April for the Road Time Trial. The men’s race begins at 1am BST at the Currumbin Beachfront Venue. The Woman’s race will follow at 5.45am. Well done to those of you who are going to get up and watch it live! For those who like sleep too much, there will be a daily round up at a more social hour for you to catch up on the events of the day.