Gate claims unlikely gold, Botha and Shearman settle for silver

Road, Track & Cyclocross
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There were three more medals for the New Zealand track cycling team as they build important ranking points on day two of the Tissot UCI Nations Cup in Hong Kong.

It is the second of three Nations Cup competition to earn points to qualify for the world championships and the Paris Olympic Games.

There is a fine line in endurance racing with Points race world champion Aaron Gate scoring the narrowest of overall honours in the men’s four-discipline omnium, while the pairing of Bryony Botha and Emily Shearman earned silver, pipped by a single point in the two-rider madison.

Gate started strongly with fourth in the scratch race and second in the tempo race but made he made a mistake to be the first rider out in the elimination race, which would normally spell the end to any overall hopes in the omnium.

But Gate is no normal human, amassing a remarkable 71 in the points race, including 60 bonus points for lapping the field three times, claiming the overall honours by a single point.

It was not quite as fortunate for the kiwi pair of Bryony Botha and Emily Shearman in the women’s madison. The two-rider, 120-lap event incorporates a hand-sling between each pair to ensure one rider is always in-play.

Botha and Sheaman were near the sharp end throughout the 30kms race, winning points in 10 of 12 sprints to take the lead going into the final double points sprint. The Japanese pair of Maho Kakita and Tsuyaka Uchino won the final sprint with New Zealand fourth to pip the kiwis by a one point for the overall victory, with Botha and Shearman settling for silver.

Earlier Sam Dakin had his best Nations Cup result, finishing on the podium in the men’s keirin competition.

Dakin had to earn it the hard way, missing out in the first round, but winning his repechage heat to advance to the quarterfinal. He produced an aggressive ride to win his quarterfinal, and then finished second to three-time world champion Matt Glaetzer in an aggressive semifinal.

Japan’s in-form Kaiya Ota dominated the final to beat home Australians Matthew Richardson and  Glaetzer, with Dakin a close fourth in the photo finish, but promoted to the bronze medal with Richardson relegated by the commissaires.

Meanwhile Shaane Fulton qualified 16th in the women’s sprint in 10.897s, but was edged out in the first round of match-racing with Oliver King clocking 11.351 in her qualifying ride.

The competition finishes tomorrow (local time).

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