Olympic Games: Mixed weekend for Australia on the track
Team pursuit and keirin medals but no gold
With six of the ten track events of the 2016 Olympic Games completed, Australia has two medals and two fourth place finishes but is yet to taste gold. The Australian men's team pursuit squad led early but faded in the final as Team GB came home strong to repeat its result from London 2012 and make it three consecutive golds.
The silver was Australia's first cycling medal in Rio, and 50th in Olympic history, which was quickly added to by Anna Meares in the women's Keirin. Earlier in the schedule, the men's sprint team finished fourth for the fourth straight games while 23-year-old Matthew Glaetzer also placed fourth in the men's sprint bronze medal final.
"I was happy with how I raced, but not the result I came in here hoping for," Glaetzer said after Denis Dmitriev took the win in two straight rides. "At the end of the day I got beaten by a quicker rider both in the semis and the final. I have good legs, it is just that they have better ones, that's just the way it goes. They are really impressive at the moment."
The result was Glaetzer's third fourth place from three Olympic events, having also lost the 2012 London team sprint bronze final, but will have the opportunity to race for a medal in the men's Keirin.
"I am not liking the number four to be honest, but I have to reset to get ready for the keirin in a couple of days," he added.
While Glaetzer was ruing what could have been, Anna Meares lived to fight another day after she won her first ever Olympic sprint repecharge. Meares was ninth fastest in the qualifying then lost her quarter final to Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) but will race the 1/8 after she defeated Olga Ismayilova (Azerbaijan) and Laurine Van Riessen (Netherlands).
The result cam one day after Meares became the first Australian cyclist to medal in four different games, taking her personal tally to six Olympic medals.
"My coach (Gary West) asked me earlier what were my goals for this meet and that's two of the boxes checked right there: place better than I did in London in keirin and win a medal," Meares said on Sunday.
On Saturday, despite setting a new Australian record in the team pursuit, the Australian quartet of Jack Bobridge, Alexander Edmondson, Michael Hepburn and Sam Welsford were forced to settle for silver having been beaten by a faster Team GB on the day.
"Everyone has done their bit. To do eight years and to get two silver medals is frustrating but at the same time, even though it is disappointing, I can leave here tonight with this team knowing we didn't leave one bit to spare in that final," Bobridge said of the final in which Great Britain set a new world record of 3:50.265.
"We laid it all out there. You could ask anyone of these guys and coaches and there is nothing else we could have done. We've trained our asses off, we laid it all there and just got beat by a better team."
The final opportunities for Australia to medal on the track come in the men and women's omnium, women's sprint and the men's Keirin. In the women's BMX, Caroline Buchanan will start as one of the favourites for gold, while Sam Willoughby is also considered a chance for the medals. In the cross-country, AustralIa's hopes for a medal lie with Rebecca Henderson in the women's race, and Scott Bowden and Dan McConnell in the men's this coming weekend.
Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets
After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get The Leadout Newsletter
The latest race content, interviews, features, reviews and expert buying guides, direct to your inbox!