Day 2 - session 4 report

The evening session started with a scintillating Women's 500m time trial. The first five riders set successive best times: Bhatia Shannon (USA) bettered Ireland’s Rachel Mellor by two tenths of a second, then Odette Van Deventer of South Africa beat her time by two seconds. Soojin Kim (KOR) beat HER time by 2.3 seconds, before Dannielle Khan (GB) took two more seconds off the best time and took a convincing lead with a ride of 35.456 secs. 

The sequence ended there: several heats later, Nicky Degrendele (Bel) moved into second place with 36.484 and, after eight heats, the top three medal positions were these: 1. Dannielle Khan (GB) 35.456 2. Nicky Degrendele (Bel) 36.484 3. Soojin Kim (Kor) 37.055.

With six more riders to go, Doreen Heinze (GER) moved into provisional silver medal position with 36.298. Tatiana Kiseleva (RUS) immediately pushed Heinze down to provisional bronze with her 500m TT time of 36.240 secs. 

That left the leaderboard like this, with four riders remaining: 1. Dannielle Khan (GB) 35.456 2. Doreen Heinze 36.298 3. Tatiana Kiseleva (RUS) 36.240.

The sixteenth starter, European champion Melissandre Pain (FRA), recorded a new second best time, 35.926, and then Tian Beckett of Australia rode into the bronze medal position with 36.132, to complete the Women’s 500m TT medal roster: gold to Dannielle Khan (GB), silver to Melissandre Pain (Fra), and bronze to Tian Beckett (Aus).

The Men’s Scratch final was decided by a brilliant move from Germany’s  Manuel Porzner. He waited until Navarro (Arg), Sadler (Irl), Shirmukhamedov (Uzb), Haggerty (NZl), Oliveira (Por) and Destang (Fra) had softened up the peloton with a series of punishing attacks over the first 18 laps, then made his own, decisive acceleration, darting away with 21 laps to go and taking just two blistering circuits to lap the field. 

Despite further attacks by Pauls (RSA), Navarro (Arg), Haggerty (NZl), Oseï (Bel) and then, towards the end, the Swiss rider Nico Selenati and the Russian Maxim Andreev, Porzner’s advantage was untouchable. Haggerty won the sprint to take the silver medal, and Chile’s Cristian Cornejo – that nation's only entrant to these games – took bronze, giving the smallest team here a 100% medal rate!

In the Men’s Individual Pursuit, another wonderfully controlled ride by Pavel Chursin (RUS) brought him the bronze medal ahead of Great Britain's Matt Gibson. The two riders started neck and neck, but the Russian eased slowly ahead and eventually gained 2.7 seconds on his British rival. 

Then, two more medals for Australia: Zachary Shaw led his compatriot and team-mate Callum Scotson all the way to take the gold medal in the Men's Individual Pursuit. Shaw’s winning time was 3:21.122 seconds. Scoton took the silver medal with a time of 3:24.132 seconds.

The second round of the Men's Keirin produced a strong final line-up of Dubchenko (RUS), Copponi (FRA), Jung (KOR), Snasel (CZE), Gil (FRA) and Gorlov (RUS). Snasel, in particular, looked super-strong, having dominated his qualifying heat and his second-round race. In the event, the final had to be restarted after Benjamin Gil (FRA) fell on the first lap. second time round, the two Russian finalists, Sergej Gorlov and Alexander Dubchenko, snuffed out the opposition. As Snasel waited for the outstanding Dubchenko to make his move from behind, Gorlov, ahead of him, opened an insuperable gap. The Czech rider was the fastest of the three on the finish line but, unfortunately for him, Gorlov had got there first. Dubchenko crossed the line third, and took bronze. More perfect tactics from the Russians.

In the Women's Team Pursuit bronze play-off, Australia, still licking their wounds from their crash-marred performance this morning, put the Italian quartet under enormous pressure. As the Italians fractured, Australia chased them down, overtaking them to win the race and then continuing on to set a new World Record of 4:38.246, beating the British mark of 4:38.708 set this morning. 

Then, the final race of the evening, and what a race! Riding for the gold medal, the Russian quartet set the faster time at km 1, with a lead of 0.332 seconds. Great Britain fought back, and at the halfway point led by 0.260 seconds. From then on, it was all about the World Record, conceded 5 minutes earlier to their great Australian rivals. And, in an a unforgettable end to the evening, in front of a huge home crowd, they did it, taking the gold medal in a new World Record time of 4:36.147.

It was a magical finish to a brilliant day’s racing! ​​