Posted by: jkirkby8712 | April 11, 2012

Saturday, 7th April 2012 – Easter Saturday, and a second trip to the cycling!

Another day of trains, buses, trams, and bikes!!!  Well, from late afternoon anyway. I wasn’t sure if the gym session was operating but decided I deserved a day off anyway!!  A bit of final shopping, and a day spent ‘cleaning’ the house [an Autumn ‘spring clean’] in preparation for tomorrow’s visitors.  Susan went off somewhere again this afternoon, so most of that ‘cleaning’ was left to yours truly [all of it, actually!].

I was off again around 4.30pm, for the same trip as yesterday – by car, bus, train, then tram – and again, reached the Hisense Arena with plenty of time to spare prior to the 7pm start. I would actually enjoy tonight, much more so than last night – less worry about the return journey, digestive problems, etc, and seemed to be able to get more into the spirit and enthusiasm of the capacity crowd. Robert & Evelyn arrived to join me not long after I’d taken my seat – the same  seats as last night, but different people [quieter] around us!! Of course, the enthusiasm for the night was greatly assisted by the Australian team picking of three Gold Medals and two Silvers!!

 

It was a night in which we saw Anna Meares makes amends for her devastating Sprint semi-final loss last night by sweeping all before her in the Women’s Keirin Final This was to be her 9th World title over a number of years in an event that saw the English star, Victoria Pendleton fail to reach the final. Meares turned on a comprehensive performance in the 500 metre Time Trial– as she said afterwards,  the crowd was great, they got me over the line in the end. ‘It doesn’t make up for last night, it makes tonight special’.  Second last with 300 metres to go in the final, Meares unleashed a paralysing burst of speed to move around the field before stamping her authority.

 

There was more to come!  In the Men’s Individual Pursuit – an endurance event over 4 kms, and which is conducted as a knockout tournament, the goal being to ride the fastest time over the distance [seems obvious enough] –  Australia’s Michael Hepburn rode a great race, which the noisy pro-Australian crowd riding all the way with him, to the winning position. But the real highlight of the night for me came in the Men’s Points race, over 40 kilometres. This is an event where the final placings are determined according to accumulated points won by riders during sprints or by taking laps on their opponents. Points of 5, 3, 2 and 1 are awarded to the first four across the line in the intermediate sprints, held every 10 laps and at the finish. 20 points are given to a rider who laps the main field and any rider who drops a lap on the main field loses 20 points. The Men’s race was 160 laps, and Australia’s Cameron Meyer conjured up a miracle victory in the last lap, a win which sent Australia to the top of the medal tally. He defied the heavy marking of opposition riders to win his third consecutive points race crown [and sixth rainbow jersey – championship title – overall]. Meyer launched an amazing attack [with just a few points to his credit at that stage] with 15 laps to go, supported by Kiwi Aaaron Gate, to take a lap on the field, in the final lap of the race, and to edge to a one point victory over Britain’s Ben Swift. That last 15 laps was sensational to watch, and had the crowd roaring him on for it’s duration.  Once again, I’d been having difficulties just following who was leading, etc, and I think I commented to Robert with a couple of laps to go, that Meyer would not get there – it simply did not look possible that he could overtake the field with the distance remaining.  AS one reporter would note in the morning paper  ‘Meyer, seemingly out of contention, produced a blistering finish in the last laps of the 40km race to retain his world title. His bulldog tenacity in a breakaway with Gale allowed the pair to steal a lap on the field and run down points leader Swift in the frantic final laps. It seemed a frustrated Meyer was a victim of his own lofty reputation as other riders tried to ensure he would not win a third consecutive world points race title. Time and again, Myer powered to the front to establish a decisive break, but no one was prepared to work with the reigning champ and he had to call off the attacks to conserve energy’. With the crowd right behind him, Myer still felt he could win with 20 laps to go, in what was his last track race before taking up duties on the road with Australia’s new GreenEdge team. For me, despite some other great wins over these three days, the Myer victory was one of the most exciting sporting spectacles I have witnessed.

 

Meanwhile, Silver medals to Annette Edmondson in the Women’s Omnium and Jack Bobridge in the Individual Pursuit completed a successful night of podium appearances for Australian cyclists. Unfortunately, the opening night’s dual gold medallist, Shane Perkins, was overshadowed by Britain’s most successful Olympic cyclist, Sir Chris Hoy [knighted after his Beijing performances] in the race for the Men’s Sprint Bronze medal.

 

Summarised, the results of tonight’s medal races were as follows:

 

Day Four Finals of the World Indoor Cycling Championships from Melbourne

 

Mens Sprint Final

Gold: Gregory Bauge [France]

Silver: Jason Kenny [Great Britain]

Bronze: Sir Chris Hoy [Great Britain]

 

Womens Omnium Final [of 6 events]

Gold: Laura Trott [Great Britain]

Silver: Annette Edmondson [Australia]

Bronze: Sarah Hammer [USA]

 

Womens Keirin Final

GOLD: Anna Meares [AUSTRALIA}

Silver: Ekaterina Gnidenko [Russia]

Bronze: Kristina Vogel [Germany]

 

Mens Individual Pursuit Final

GOLD: Michael Hepburn [AUSTRALIA]

Silver: Jack Bobridge [Australia]

Bronze: Westley Gough [New Zealand]

 

Mens Points Race Final [40kms – 160 laps – 16 Sprints]

GOLD: Cameron Myer [Australia]

Silver: Ben Swift [Great Britain]

Bronze: Kenny De Ketele [Belgium]

 

Already after 11pm,  I would have liked to have stayed to witness the medal presentation to  Cameron Myer but decided to be on the way – Robert & Evelyn stayed on to applaud that effort. This time I decided not to walk, as per last night, but instead, walked back to the tram stop – virtually no one there when I arrived, but it would be almost 20 minutes before a tram came our way, and by that time, potential passengers were crushed up behind me. That first tram was only a small one, but oddly, the driver allowed virtually everyone who was waiting, to get on – which meant a total crush of bodies and standing room only for myself, who despite being amongst the first at the stop, was thwarted by the tram stopping a little further on than anticipated. Not particularly amused, but it was only a short journey to Flinders Street station, so we coped!

 

Caught the same train at Flinders Street, as last night – via the city loop to Footscray, where I had earlier optimistically hoped that things would be back to normal. But no indeed, all out at Footscray again, and into a bus –  only tonight, the Saturday night travellers were much larger in numbers –  and again, all potential travellers were packed into the bus as if we were sardines. I was standing, and dreading having to stay like that for the next 30/40 minutes under the control of a driver who was not over careful on his stops and turns! Thankfully, a couple of young ladies took pity on the ‘old guy’ swaying in front of them – one sat on the other’s knees, and offered me her seat. For which I was grateful. Later in that journey, as a few seats began to become available, I moved to an empty one, to allow the girls to resume their original seating arrangements. They didn’t really want to  –  both were quite ‘cosy’ together!!  Back at Watergardens, once again I was glad to see that my little car was still where I had left it – but I was a little annoyed that I was unable to clock off my Myki travel card at the station machine – I wondered how that would affect my account! Decided I would do it at Sunbury Station, but of course, by the time I got there [12.45am this time] I’d forgotten all about that idea!

 

 

 

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