Commonwealth Games: More medals for sprint riders

By David Leggat

New Zealand track cyclist Simon van Velthooven won silver in the 1000m time trial. Photo / Greg Bowker
New Zealand track cyclist Simon van Velthooven won silver in the 1000m time trial. Photo / Greg Bowker

Another day at the velodrome, more medals for New Zealand's sprint riders.

Simon van Velthooven and Matt Archibald both dipped below the old Commonwealth Games record in the kilo time trial, but had to bow to the defending champion Scott Sunderland of Australia, in a thrilling finale.

Sunderland, racing against van Velthooven in the last of nine pairs, flew home over the last 125m to take the gold in 1min 00.675s, shaving .736s off his old mark.

Van Velthooven took silver in 1:01.060 while Archibald, who had ridden in the sixth heat, held the Games record for around 20 minutes with his 1:01.162.

In a way Archibald's was the ride of the event. He ripped six seconds off his personal best time in an event he'd only ridden competitively once.

The return takes to five the number of sprint medals won by the New Zealand team of five riders - and it's up to seven altogether including two pursuit medals.

Van Velthooven called it ''a good result in a bad year".

The muscular Palmerston North man has gone bronze, silver, bronze in the event in the last three world championships and cut a slightly downcast figure.

''I gave it my all on the line but unfortunately it didn't pay out today," he said.

''It's a pretty big event to me, but it is what it is."

Injuries have marred his year, took him off the training track for a time, but that said Sunderland's whirlwind finish was a terrific performance.

Archibald, the reserve rider so often in the group, was thrilled with his achievement.
He knew Sunderland and van Velthooven would fly home.

''I was about half a second faster than I thought I could do, then it was a nervous time waiting," the Southlander said.

''I knew Scott and Simon are pretty classy riders. I would have loved to be top of the podium, but to share it with them is pretty humbling."

The 28-year-old, whose fiancé Hannah Shand was looking on from the stands - Archibald reckoned even in the din at the Chris Hoy velodrome he could hear her cheering - cuts a senior figure alongside the young bucks, Sam Webster, Ethan Mitchell and Eddie Dawkins.

Now he knows he can foot it with the best.

With the kilo not on the Rio 2016 Olympic programme, Archibald will turn his sights on the team event.

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