Annette Edmondson (Australia) took the biggest victory of her career, as she out manoeuvred everyone to take gold in the women’s scratch race at the Commonwealth Games. As a sprinter during her time as a junior, the reigning national scratch champion used her sprinting experience to get the jump on the bunch.
“I’ve always come back with seconds or thirds at the World Championships, so this was really, really special,” said Edmondson, who had tears in her eyes as she climbed onto the podium. “The girls did such a good job out there we had such a good combination of riders and we just had to make sure that we were represented in every move. When it came to a bunch sprint they backed me, which was awesome.”
“I have learned to look over my shoulder and judge the pace of rider. I’ve also been able to judge my sprint. I’m able to build, build, build. I was putting out peak wattage in training a couple of months ago, so I knew that the form was there.”
Initially, Canada was the nation doing the pace setting, making it high enough to prevent any moves going. However, a strong Australian squad took to the front of the pack with only two laps to go. With Edmondson and Amy Cure on the front, it gave the nation two options for the finale. Fortunately for them, both worked out and they laid claim to the two top spots.
“She (Cure) was going to hit out really hard if the option was there. She was forced to go a little bit early, because we got caught out on the corner,” explained Edmondson. “It worked out perfectly. Katie Archibald was in second with two laps to go so I didn’t have to panic. I just had to sit in the wheels and relax and make sure no one came round the corner and try to hold the rest of them off.”
The medal is the first gold at international level for 22-year-old, who finished second in the pursuit the day before. Edmondson now splits her time between the track and the road, where she rides for Orica-AIS. Her biggest victory there was the Tour of Chongming Island, and she also took bronze in the time trial at the World Championships last year. Edmondson was one of the favourites going into the race and even dared to think what it would be like to take the gold.
“I’ve dreamt about it,” she said. “Even after the pursuit I was struggling to sleep, it was also quite hot, so I was just thinking about it and just imagining the feeling if I came across in first and it happened. I was over the moon, but we’ve still got another chance tomorrow in the points race. Whether it is me or the others up for the win, we’re going to work whoever it is and try to bring it home.”
The women's points race will take place on Sunday, the final day of the track programme at the Commonwealth Games.