Jack Bobridge (Australia) took home his second gold medal of the Commonwealth Games in as many days, despite only two weeks of training on the track. Bobridge beat his teammate Alex Edmondson in the men's individual pursuit final on Friday, one day after he helped his Australian team win the men's team pursuit, to defend both his titles from the Deli games in 2010.
It is the first time since the World Championships in 2012 – where he finished second to Michael Hepburn - that Bobridge has competed in the individual pursuit event. It didn’t show as he powered around the track. With his focus on the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, it was a confidence boosting return to the track.
“It was a fantastic day and it was obviously a massive honour for me to come back with the track guys and try to defend my two titles from Deli. I’m over the moon to be able to do it and walk away with two gold medals in the pursuit events,” said Bobridge, after he climbed off the bike.
“To step in after only two weeks of training on the boards, I think it’s really good for me to look back on and realistically, if I spend more time with the guys on the boards there should be more up my sleeve to give. It’s a great start for myself and the team.”
Bobridge had a consistent day, with a few tenths separating his times from the morning and afternoon. He was slower than Edmondson in the opening part of the event, but quickly clawed his way back to put nearly four seconds into him. The 25-year-old was the only rider to go sub-4:20 in either session.
Bobridge is the world and Commonwealth Games record holder in the event (he set his world record of 4:10.534 during the national championships in 2011) and had hoped to put in a bigger performance, despite just winning gold. “I had hoped that I would ride faster. Previously, all my pursuits have been quicker. Saying that, the conditions on the track, it’s not quite a pursuiter’s track and also, looking back on it, it’s my first one in two years,” he said.
“It’s still a world-class time. For myself, a little bit quicker would have been nice, but at the end of the day it was quick enough to take away gold, so I’m happy.”
After riding the points race on Saturday, Bobridge will return to the road with his Belkin team. The Dutch outfit released Bobridge from his road commitments to allow him to ride at the Games. While Bobridge would like to spend more time on the track to hone his form for Rio 2016, the Australian will be out of contract with Belkin at the end of the season. For now, finding a new road contract will take priority over the track.
“At this point in time, I’m up for contract on the road so I will focus on that for the rest of the year,” he explained. “After that the plans will be for sure to spend some more time with the guys on the boards. To win Rio, that has to be done for sure. That is the way track is now. I’m going to work out the best way to do that and hopefully I can settle down over the next few months and organise a way to do it.”
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