Day 10 – Ed gets Bronze, Vicky flies by, Jason stays cool
If ever anyone asks you what it means to be a bike rider at the highest level, what guts and determination you need to succeed, just point them to Ed Clancy. After three rounds of the Team Pursuit, culminating in an Olympic Gold Medal, Ed was up and at it again for the six event Omnium.
Putting up fantastic times in the timed events – and let’s be clear, each of these was a world-class performance in itself, each would have been close to the medal contenders in the respective individual events had they been in the programme – he gave everything he could in the bunch events which are not his speciality. Clearly the guy was running out of gas each time but, closing gap after gap, he never gave up, even when his shoulders were heaving as he tried to get back out of oxygen debt each time.
A totally heroic effort and a well-deserved bronze. Thank you Ed, you did us proud. Enjoy your celebrations now!
Earlier Queen Vic was back on track, setting a brilliant qualifying time that must have scared the wits out of arch-rival Anna Meares. I was sat in the Olympic Family area in the morning and, as there were plenty of empty seats in that section (the rest was of course sold out and jam-packed), LOCOG brought in some off-duty soldiers for some well-earned spectating.
I can tell you they were well impressed with Vicky. To see close up the real athlete they have only before seen in magazines and adverts. As she came round the top of the track for her initial laps, every single one of the soldiers stood up with camera-phone in hand and took her photo in almost choreographed unison. That will be one of my memories of the Games – those guys were so chuffed to see our star.
Jason Kenny was also up again, cruising through the early rounds of the sprint and never looking in any difficulty. When Awang of Malaysia (he of the splinter through the calf in the Manchester World Cup of 2011) tried to give him a rough ride on the final banking, Jason simply refused to be intimidated, cruising past with a look at Awang that said “Hey, just don’t even begin to think about messing with me, mate”.
Bauge looked good too though, and won’t go down without a fight. The finals are going to be very memorable, that’s for sure.
And don’t miss the amazing Njisane Philip of Trinidad. What a talent. He spent a few months last year working with Frederic Magne at the UCI World Cycling Centre at Aigle in Switzerland, and is now coached by British Beijing Gold Medal Team Sprinter Jamie Staff, now based in Los Angeles. He comes up against Jason in the semi-finals. I don’t think he’s going to beat Jason, but he’s already claimed some scalps of the top-ranked sprinters and is certainly a man who can spring surprises.
It’s going to be another fabulous day of track cycling!