By Shane Stokes in Manchester, England
Showing a mix of versatility across the disciplines, Hayden Godfrey took a fine victory in the ominium event on the final day of the world track championships in Manchester. The 29 year-old New Zealand rider dominated the event, winning the scratch race and placing third, fourth, fourth and seventh in the sprint, the pursuit, the kilo and the points race. It was New Zealand's sole medal in the event but put it a solid seventh in the medal table.
The ominium returned to world championship competition last year following a long break. Godfrey's compatriot Jesse Sergent was seventh in Majorca, with the 2008 champion securing his selection this season thanks to a win in the national championship.
"It was only the third 200 metres that I have ever done," he said after the medal presentation. "I am really happy with the time and that set me up for the rest of the day. There was a bit of luck there in the scratch race it worked out well and put me in a really good position.
"As regards the pursuit, I have done a lot of that and that helped as well, getting a result," he added. "It helped in putting a few other guys out of contention. I didn't manage so well in the points race, that was a bit of a worry, but I just needed some points and it turned out okay. As regards the kilo, I've done a lot of that too, so it wasnt so much of a problem."
Godfrey took a bronze medal in the team pursuit at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, but has had injury problems since then. He's back in form now and seems to have found his perfect event.
"I first heard about the omnium a couple of years ago," he explained. "I thought that would really suit me, because I am quite good at all disciplines. One of the most important things is being right up there in everything. You can't afford to have a bad ride on one event, otherwise you lose your opportunity of doing well.
"I am sort of like a jack of all trades and master of none, I suppose," he smiled. "That is why I slotted in well when this event came along. I had an injury last year and never got to do it, so I felt like I had to have another year to have a crack at it. I am just really happy it has worked out. New Zealand has not won very many world titles so I am happy to be part of that small group."
Namesake Hayden Roulston was fourth in the individual pursuit on the opening day of the competition, and was part of the team pursuit squad that finished fourth in that competition. Godfrey feels that more success is on the way. "Our endurance programme is going really well," he said. "There are a lot of young guys coming through, so I think in the future you are going to see more New Zealand riders on the podium in events like the team pursuit and that."
He's hoping that his strong performance could see him get the nod for August's Beijing Olympic Games. "Hopefully they think that this [victory] crosses over enough. The team pursuit is my only option. So we will just have to wait and see, have a talk with them. This is an opportunity to get back on the team. It is up to them."