Northern Ireland’s Wendy Houvenaghel had to settle for a silver medal in the women’s individual pursuit in Delhi, beaten to the title by Alison Shanks.
Houvenaghel holds the silver medal in this event at Olympic, World and now Commonwealth level as an individual title remains just out of reach for her.
The Cornish based rider remains one of Great Britain’s most consistent riders, and although she has stood on the top step of the podium as a team pursuit world champion, when it comes to individual race there’s always someone just ahead of her. Rebecca Romero, Sarah Hammer and now Alison Shanks have all denied Houvenaghel the top step at an international event.
This time she missed out by just over one second as New Zealand’s Shanks stopped the clock at 3-30.875 minutes and Houvenaghel 3-32.137. It was at least another medal for Northern Ireland who now have two, making it their most successful games on the track.
Tara Whitten of Canada won the bronze medal ahead of a second New Zealand rider, meaning the few spectators in the velodrome were at least given a break from the dominance of the Australians. For once they weren’t represented on the podium.
They were however only pausing for breath on the final day of competition on the track, as minutes later their sprinters stepped up to win gold in the mens Team Sprint, setting a Commonwealth Games record in the process. They won ahead of their antipodean rivals New Zealand.
The Aussies always had the edge, but the Kiwi’s were unsettled when their second man came crashing down just after swinging off as a puncture kicked his back wheel in to the air and brought him down at high speed.
Scotland were the only home nation represented in the team sprint finals but they were beaten by Malaysia to the bronze.
Then to the last event, the men’s scratch race. Defending champion Mark Cavendish wasn’t riding, leaving Cameron Meyer to give everyone another masterclass in bunch track racing. The Garmin rider stormed to his third gold medal at these games by taking a lap on his own and then using his team mates defend it.
Not that he needed any help. He was visibly stronger than everyone else on the track as other riders couldn’t match his speed.
With a few laps to go Meyer went again, taking his team mate Michael Freiberg and Canada’s Zach Bell with him. The brilliant tactics of the Australian team saw take their gold medal tally to 12 out of 14 and add a silver medal too.
Women’s individual pursuit
1. Alison Shanks (New Zealand) 3-30.875 bt
2. Wendy Houvenaghel (Northern Ireland) 3-32.137
3. Tara Whitten (Canada) 3-35.801 bt
4. Jaime Nielsen (New Zealand) 3-39.923
Men’s team sprint
1. Australia 43.772 bt
2. New Zealand 44.239
3. Malaysia 45.040 bt
4. Scotland 46.273
Men’s scratch race
1. Cameron Meyer (Australia)
2. Michael Frieberg (Australia)
3. Zach Bell (Canada)