Australia’s Alex Porter came crashing to the ground during Team Pursuit qualifying when his handlebars appeared to snap off, with AusCycling saying it would be thoroughly investigating the Tokyo Olympic Games incident while also warning it would take time to determine exactly what happened.
“Last night’s incident in the heats of the men’s team pursuit was both a shock and disappointment for all involved in the Olympic program and for cycling fans across Australia,” AusCycling said in a statement.
“AusCycling’s immediate concern is for the welfare of Alex Porter and his team-mates. The fact that Alex and the team were able to ride again to be in contention for a Bronze medal, was both inspirational and courageous.”
After Porter slid across the boards Australia's qualifying run was quickly bought to an end just as the clock ticked over the minute mark, with one consolation being he was at the back of the group so his teammates – Kelland O’Brien, Sam Welsford and Leigh Howard – weren’t also caught-up in the crash. The squad were able to take to the track again and in the re-run they came fifth, meaning the nation was out of the running for gold and silver. Bronze still remain possible, but to make it into the contest for a medal the nation now faces a difficult battle.
Following Monday’s qualifying, the men's Team Pursuit heats begin on Tuesday afternoon, with the medal finals on Wednesday.
“While the immediate focus is on the success of the Australian Cycling Team across the remainder of the Olympic program, there will be a thorough investigation and review of the factors involved in the incident,” AusCycling said.
The Australian track teams are riding the 2020 Electron Pro from Argon 18 but the Canadian brand earlier said its handlebar was not in use during the incident. This too was confirmed by AusCycling.
“Discussion concerning what caused the incident is understandable, but it is clear that it will take some time to establish exactly what happened,” said AusCycling. “A high performance bike is made up of many components. AusCycling can confirm that the part involved in last night’s incident was not manufactured by Argon 18, who supply bikes to the Australian Cycling Team.”
The organisation added that, to ensure the fairness of the process, it would make no comment on the detail of the investigation until it is complete.
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