Team Scotland Cycling leaves Birmingham with huge medal haul
Scottish cycling bosses were rubbing their hands at a bumper medal haul that sets the tone perfectly for next year’s UCI World Championships in Glasgow.
Team Scotland ended with nine medals, third in the sport’s table behind only all-conquering Australia and New Zealand who locked out 16 of 20 golds.
It was the nation’s joint best-ever haul at the Commonwealth Games, matching the total of Gold Coast 2018, finishing one silver up on home team England.
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“It’s been a good week of competition for us, some great performances,” said Scottish Cycling Head of Performance David Somerville.
“The guys have competed well and we’re delighted with the performances, some of which didn’t make the podium. We’ve still got medal chances in mountain biking and on the road too.
“We’re a small nation and we’re battling to stay competitive all the time. We won’t be letting our guard down.”
This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 250 athletes, all vying for medal success.
With the biggest cycling event ever descending on Glasgow next year and rainbow jerseys up for grabs, the portents are good for Scottish riders to shine.
Somerville said: “The World Championships will be incredibly exciting. It’ll be a different flag they’re wearing but the guys are equally proud to represent themselves, their families and Great Britain.
“I’m sure some of the guys will be there, some of them will be successful. I’m hoping some of them who missed the podium here, make it there and we keep building for the future.”
You sense the medal tally could have been ever bigger had star turn Katie Archibald been on the boards, denied the chance to add to her three Commonwealth medals by a litany of injuries.
Somerville said: “It wasn’t the right thing for Katie to be here, she’s taking some time.
“We build a system to make sure it’s not dependent on one individual and we’ve shown that over the last couple of days.”
Archibald’s brother John was one of a clutch near misses for Scots on the final day of racing at the velodrome that meant the medal count could have been even higher.
Kiwi dominance shone through in the men’s points race as Aaron Gate and Campbell Stewart went one-two, leaving Archibald and team-mate Mark Stewart trailing in fourth and fifth.
He said: “You could compete with them but not beat them. I think Mark and I were just on the trailing edge of it today."
Archibald’s attention now turns to the road time trial where he is targeting a top-ten finish.
The same goes for Neah Evans who will be stoked for a rare outing on the road by a near miss in the women’s scratch race.
With ten laps to go Indian rider Meenakshi Meenakshi fell down the track and Kiwi Bryony Botha rode over her body.
It was another gory incident to end a week that has been dominated by high-speed smashes.
The neutralisation played into English hands and when Evans launched an attack five laps from home, Sophie Lewis and Grace Lister both counterpunched to reel in the Langbank rider.
That gave Laura Kenny a perfect platform to surge through and claim gold with Evans dropping down to fourth place.
It saw the 32-year-old narrowly miss out on a third Games medal having won points silver and individual pursuit bronze - she would have been the third Scot to win three at a single Games .
She said: “It was a bit frustrating. The crash came when things started getting interesting for me.
“I’ve had a really good Games and I raced it to go one step higher on the podium. I came away with nothing but I took a gamble and half a lap less, it would have been a different outcome.”
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