Scary start to final day at US track nationals

Michael Blatchford (Cody Racing), team-mate of the injured Angelo Martorell.

Michael Blatchford (Cody Racing), team-mate of the injured Angelo Martorell. (Image credit: Mitch Clinton)

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Carson, California

With the men's keirin and madison scheduled for the final day of competition at the USA Cycling Elite National Track Championships, the possibility for incidents was high. But the incidents came early on in the day in the men's team sprint qualifier, when anchor rider Angelo Martorell (South Bay Wheelmen) struck a volunteer track marshall who was replacing a sponge in the sprint lane during the qualifying attempt.

Martorell's shoulder hit the volunteer's head as he was rounding the final turn of the final lap, but amazingly Martorell somehow managed to stay upright and complete his lap, qualifying his composite team "The A Team" of Adam Duvendeck and Michael Blatchford in second place behind T-Town Express' team of Giddeo Massie, Ryan Nelman and Ben Barczewski. However, Martorell's shoulder was noticeably injured as he exited the track, preventing him from racing in the final. And since T-Town Express put a time up nearly 1.5 seconds faster, The A Team conceded the victory to T-Town Express without racing the final.

Martorell stayed at the track with ice on his shoulder and walked up to the awards ceremony to receive his medal. Afterwards he told Cyclingnews that his shoulder was pretty bruised but not too painful. "I'll go to the hospital later to see if it's separated, but I don't think so," he said.

The volunteer, Jeff Goldman of Huntington Beach, appeared to be conscious and breathing and was treated on-scene by medics. He was put on a backboard and transported to a local hospital. Just before the incident, another potential disaster was barely avoided in the heat between T-Town Express and team Eddie Boyz. The T-Town Express suffered a mechanical in the start, neutralizing the race. But no gun shot was fired alerting the back stretch Eddie Boyz team who kept racing while the starting block for the T-Town Express remained in place. Luckily the first rider was alert enough to avoid the block as it was hurriedly pulled from the track.

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