Posted by Editoress on 07/28/02
Commonwealth Games: Track Day 1
Photo of Lori-Ann Muenzer. Photo conditions were terrible. There were no flashes allowed and the lights were turned way down low.
Commonwealth Games records were set in both the men's 1000m time trial and the women's 500m time trial during the first night of track competition. Chris Hoy (Scotland) beat his friend and mentor Jason Queally (England) with a personal best time of 1:01.726. Canada's Jim Fisher finished 7th, two tenths of a second off his best time on the Manchester track. In the women's race, Kerrie Meares' 35.084 second ride was half a second in front of favoured Lori-Ann Muenzer, who finished with the bronze, behind a surprising Julie Paulding (England).
"I didn't know what to expect" said Meares, "but I did hope that I could do a personal best, that's what I was achieving for here."
Muenzer was disappointed. "It wasn't what I was hoping for, but it is still a medal. Ideally, I was looking for a 35.2, but my start wasn't the greatest, and I didn't feel totally solid. I was faster in Bromont (at the track nationals, on an outdoor track) then here. My legs haven't felt good since we got here, in fact, tonight was the first time I felt good in warmup all week."
Hoy, Queally and third place Jamie Staff (England) made it a clean sweep for the Great Britain. The three train together and spent two months in Australia preparing. Staff, a BMX pro who normally rides for Haro in the U.S., went fourth from last and laid down a time of 1:02.456. Hoy was second from the end and knocked nearly three-quarters of a second off that time. Queally, the reigning Olympic champion, was last, but couldn't manage to outkick his protege, finishing just over two-tenths of a second back in his first Kilo of nearly 2 years.
Hoy gave Scotland their first gold medal of the Games. "It has not sunk in yet. There was such a build up of expectation from the Scottish camp, and I just wanted to do the best ride I could. It was good enough to win tonight."
Both he and Queally praised the new bikes they are riding. "We are fortunate that UK Sport invested in the development of bicycles." said Queally. "I was reluctant to change from the bike I rode at Sydney, but this is the best I have ridden. The carbon fibre fabrication is incredibly light and rigid, unlike some of the French and Italian bikes. The future is bright for the UK."
Possibly the most interesting story is that of Jamie Staff. He has spent the last 7 years racing BMX for Haro, as a Double AA Pro. He is a former world champion and World Cup champion who decided he wanted to go to the Olympics. "I have made a good living at BMX, but I'll take a pay cut to chase my dream. I spent a few weeks here at Christmas, and just wanted to see if I had any potential. BMX is still a priority for now, but I will be coming home at the end of the year to concentrate on the track."
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