Impressive Stewart battles to points race gold in Commonwealth track finale

Impressive Stewart battles to points race gold in Commonwealth track finale

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Mark Stewart left everything and more on the Anna Meares Velodrome track after a buccaneering ride saw him rewarded with Commonwealth Games glory on the Gold Coast.

The Scot was left unable to stand after the race, displaying exactly how hard he had to work to climb to the top of the podium in the points race.

That fittingly brought to an end the cycling track leg of the Games Down Under, with two silver and two bronze medals also added to a collection that reached 23 by the end, eight of them gold.

Two of that medal tally came in the scratch race thanks to Neah Evans and Emily Kay, winning silver and bronze respectively, while Ethan Hayter and Callum Skinner also took their places on the podium with bronze.

Superb Stewart pushes through the pain

The Gold Coast track finale was nothing short of exceptional as an absorbing points race gripped the velodrome, with laps galore taken throughout the contest – including three for Stewart.

But he was far from a one-trick pony, adding 21 points to his collection in the sprints – including a vital six in the very last.

That took his tally to 81 as he usurped Campbell Stewart, while Hayter also took his place on the podium back in third, just one point shy of the silver medal.

“I’m really proud, that was a lot of hard work and that’s come together really nicely,” said Stewart.

“I’m only 22 but I feel I’ve been at this for ages, I have a lot of good days and a lot of bad days but this is up there in the good ones.

“I knew points race was always my goal, even with riding the individual pursuit and the scratch, these were activations for this – it doesn’t often work but this one did!

“This is the first time I’ve been able to sing Flower of Scotland on the podium – that was a nice feeling.

“It’s a privilege to be doing this, it’s an awesome journey and riding a bike is great but being a nicer person is more important for me.”

Double medal delight in scratch race

The double medal celebrations weren’t done there for the home nations as Evans and Kay flew high in the scratch race, narrowly edging Commonwealth champion Katie Archibald into fourth place.

Once again this was a race packed full of drama, with Australia’s Amy Cure and Annette Edmondson leading the way in the closing stages, the former going on to take the crown.

With gritted teeth Evans powered through and held on for a valiant second, with Kay close on her wheel as the entire pack piled towards the line on the home straight.

"I panicked a little bit. I was on the back foot when the Australians took the front,” said Evans.

“I was hoping today would be about trying to get to the front sooner and dominate. With the speed they came down on me it made it really difficult to move up the field.

"I wasn't in the position I hoped to be, and it just came to a little bit of a carnage finish until you get past people who didn't have the speed. I just 'pulled up' as much as possible."

Skinner revels in Commonwealth milestone

Constant improvement is what Skinner has continued to target and the Scot managed to pull it out of the bag with bronze in the men’s 1km time trial.

Skinner admitted he has not felt his best since Rio 2016 but the Olympic champion found his level across 1000m, constantly improving throughout his run to take the last spot on the podium.

His time of 1:01.083 was beaten only by home favourite Matt Glaetzer and Eddie Dawkins, ending his and the home nations’ performances with another medal in the bank.

"It means quite a lot,” he said. “I've had a few little results going along, but I'm not at the pace that I want to be at the moment, and I'm not going to get the result that I want.

"To pick up those little markers to show we are getting back to where we were before Rio is quite encouraging, and this is just a little stepping stone towards Tokyo 2020.”

 

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