Team Scotland finish third on track cycling medal table

Team Scotland finish third on track cycling medal table


Despite a couple of close fought fourth place finishes on the final night of cycling action in the velodrome, Team Scotland rounded out the track cycling events third on the medal table with nine medals.

After bronze and silver on the previous two nights, Neah Evans went into the Women’s Scratch race as one of the favourites, but heavily outnumbered, she’d need to produce a very special ride to make it onto the podium.

It would prove to be a cagey race, especially after a crash halted proceedings early on, with any form of attack quickly neutralised. With four laps to go Grace Lister of England put in an effort and Evans was quickly on her wheel, and as the English woman swung up the track Evans pressed on.

Out front alone it would take a monumental effort to hold off the charge from the rest of the field over the final three laps, and despite a valiant effort she would be passed by Laura Kenny and two further rivals to end up fourth.

It was always the plan to ride to win, as Neah explained afterwards:

“It started heating up with ten to go and I knew that was going to be it, and then it set off again. And then you’ve just got to be so on it. I went but it was a bit far out to really go, because I knew the others would be like, ‘let’s move on her wheel’. I hesitated. And I shouldn't have.

“I went into it wanting to win and I said that I would gamble and risk coming away with nothing, which is what happened.”

The final track race of these Games, the Men’s Points race, would throw up the same result, as defending champion Mark Stewart and Scratch race silver medallist John Archibald tried in vein to overhaul the strength in numbers that the other nations possessed.

In an incredibly aggressive race, where the field whittled down so much that there were only nine finishers, the Scottish duo did their best to contest the sprints and get early points on the board. Again a small crash would stop proceedings, as the track was repaired, and then it was game on again, attacks coming from all over the place, but nothing sticking.

With around 50 laps of the 160 to go Archibald and New Zealand’s Campbell Stewart formed a great working partnership in a bid to lap the field and get into a podium position. After a brilliant effort that saw them gain and maintain a half lap advantage, it wasn’t meant to be as the pair were drawn back in with 30 laps to go.

In the end the Kiwis controlled the final stages to take gold and silver, with Ollie Wood of England securing bronze, ahead of Archibald and Stewart in fourth and fifth.

It was a tremendous effort from that pair, and Stewart said afterwards:

“We spoke about it before hand and we knew the Kiwis would be the guys to beat, but in a Points race you don’t need to go in with a big game plan as the race comes to you. There was no hiding and we both got involved – we were there or there abouts but just didn’t quite have what it takes to go for the win.”

Unfortunately Kyle Gordon didn’t take to the start line, although he did ride the track in warm up to test his injuries; he will now focus on resting up and a decision on his participation in the time trial and road race will be made in due course.

The Women’s Keirin got proceedings underway on the final day, with our young sprint trio of Iona Moir, Lusia Steele and Lauren Bell taking to the track in separate opening round races. Unfortunately, none of them could advance by right, so entered the repechage, where just the winner would progress. It was a near miss for Lusia, who couldn’t quite find a gap down the home straight, with Moir also missing out, but Bell went long and took the win, and a place in the next round.

Employing the same tactics in the following race, she couldn’t quite produce the same result, meaning she would go in the 7-12 final, where she would eventually wind up in 10th place, a great end to her first Games.

Afterwards she reflected:

“I’ve gotten three PBs from the three timed events and everything I wanted to execute in the Keirin I did. Getting experience at this level is invaluable and there are so many things I’ll take away and work on in training before European Champs and hopefully World Champs.”

Asked at the end of proceedings how pleased he was with the team’s efforts, Director of Performance and Coaching, David Somerville, said:

“It's been a good week of competition for us with some great performances and it's nice to win some medals at the end, but we’re also pleased with a lot of the performances that didn't get on the podium as well. Looking forward to the rest of the Games, we've still got medal chances in mountain biking and on the road, so we'll see where we get to by day ten.”

Our endurance riders will now enjoy a well-earned rest, before the time trial and road race in the West Midlands on Thursday and Sunday respectively, whilst on Wednesday Isla Short and Charlie Aldridge will fly the flag for Scotland in the MTB races at Cannock Chase.

Full results from today’s racing can be found here