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Commonwealth Games 2006

Melbourne - Track Competition

Day 2 - 25km Points 

Games Website

Another Gold for Australia as Bates defends title

The women’s points race marked the return to the top level and the first major international competition for Alexis Rhodes. Making up the rest of the Australian team were Kate Bates the current Australian Road Race and current Commonwealth champion was joined by Rochelle Gilmore sprinter extraordinaire and silver medalist in the Points from 2002.  

Challenging the Australian force were a number of notable professional and experienced international. Missing from the line up, was Nicole Cooke (WAL) choosing not to ride the event, one would assume to save herself for the road events but it was not clear why she pulled out. She has experienced some unfortunate falls, both on the track and road in the last 12 months and the defending Commonwealth Games Road champion is probably looking to save herself for defence of her road title.

As always, the New Zealand team of Joanne Kiesanowski, Tammy Boyd and Catherine Sell, added experience and a serious challenge to the Australians. The other notable riders were from Canada and England. The Canadians Mandy Poitras, who won silver in the scratch race at the World Track Championships in Melbourne in 2004 and Gina Grain who is an experienced road and track rider will want to be on the podium. The England team, were a mix of experience and youth with Nikki Harris in her first year as a professional riding for the Italian team Safi Pasta – Manhattan and Emma Jones (nee Davis) one of the most experience English riders, returned to International competition after a hit an run accident nearly ended her racing career in 2005.

The pace of the race was high right from the start with the Australian’s and the New Zealand riders dominating the front of the race. At the first sprint Kate Bates took control at the front of the bunch closely followed by Rochelle Gilmore and Gina Grain. 

Kate Bates won the first sprint, with team-mate Rochelle Gilmore right behind her, scoring five and three points respectively. Kate Cullen took the second spint and Rochelle Gilmore claimed another point in the second sprint. Alexis showed remarkable character and achievement to be competing at these games and was a key member of the team, racing a very tactical race and closing down all of the attacks.

The crowd came alive in support of the riders when the Australian Kate Bates grabbed another five more points in the third sprint and then followed it up with first place in the next two sprints.

The sixth sprint went to Canada's Mandy Poitras but Kate (Bates) won sprint number seven.

Alexis Rhodes came third in the eighth sprint, while Bates won the ninth. The battle for first and second place, were over by the 7th sprint. The fight was for third place, which was being fought out between Canadians Gina Grain and Mandy Poitras, Kate Cullen (SCO) and New Zealand Joanne Kiesanowski. In the end Grain missed the small break that formed with 6 laps to go relegating her to 4th place, which meant that Cullen took Scotland's first ever women's track medal.

 

Result

Place

Name

 

Country

Points

Lap 1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

1

Kate

Bate

AUS

30

5

 

5

5

5

 

5

 

5

 

2

Rochelle

Gilmore

AUS

21

3

1

3

2

 

1

3

5

3

 

3

Kate

Cullen

SCO

13

 

5

2

 

 

2

2

 

2

 

4

Gina

Grain

CAN

12

2

3

1

 

 

3

 

3

 

 

5

Mandy

Poitras

CAN

10

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

5

6

Joanne

Kiesanowski

NZL

9

1

2

 

3

2

 

 

 

1

 

7

Emma

Jones

ENG

4

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

3

8

Nikki

Harris

ENG

3

 

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

9

Iona

Wynter

JAM

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

10

Alexis

Rhodes

AUS

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

11

Catherine

Sell

NZL

2

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

1

 

 

12

Tammy

Boyd

NZL

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

13

Uracca Leow

Hoay Sim

MAS

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

14

Noor Azian Binti

Alias

MAS

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Average Speed 45.281 km/h

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Post Race Comments

When asked how she felt about the race Kate Bates said “The plan was to go and make the girls chase me. We had a really strong team, it was a team effort tonight. I am absolutely stoked to get home with the gold medal.” On taking command of the race, she added, “that’s my style. I wanted to go out there and stamp my authority on the race with the help of my team mates, it really worked.” 

Kate’s family and friends from school were there to support her, Kate “it’s fantastic to have them up there, I don’t get to see them very often, to hear them cheering and seeing them at the end is really special.”

Kate was supported by four of her school friends who after seeing her performance in Manchester, could not wait to see her perform in Australia. 

Going into the race as favourite Kate was asked how it felt “It feels fantastic, to be honest I did go into the race knowing and thinking that I could win, but actually going out and doing it is a different thing. Having Alex and Rochelle on my side gave me a lot more confidence. I knew that we could take home at least two medals, I hoped they were gold and silver. The race went perfectly, Alex was an absolute work horse for us, allowing Rochelle and I to be the sprinters. We worked for ourselves and took our own opportunities for the first half of the race and supported each other in the remaining part.”

Rochelle Gilmore won the silver medal behind Kate Bates and was pleased with her own and the team performance “I am happy with the silver anything less coming after Manchester coming second, would have been disappointing, racing out there with such great team mates was inspirational. The scary thing is that anyone who has been around Kate (Bates) knowing that she has not been well this week (suffering from a 24 hour bug) and she is not in top form and being able to come out to ride like she did is a little bit scary. Coming second to Kate is not disappointing it was great for the team and for Australia.” Rochelle was very emotional as she remembered Amy Gillett-Safe, and both Kate and Alexis reflected on how hard it is when you stop after racing. 

Kate Cullen was really pleased with her bronze medal “I can’t believe it, it’s really cool. A lot of people said that I was fast enough to take a medal and I did. I thought I was forth in the last 10 laps and I had blown it, but this is great. I got the tactics right tonight, I knew who to watch having been here for the past month. It is always the preparation that really pays off, my home track is covered in snow and I don’t believe that if I hadn’t come our here early to train that I wouldn’t be sitting here today. It’s the first medal for a Scottish cyclist so I am really please. I am the highest placed female cyclist at the moment, maybe this is my chance to get noticed by the selectors back in the UK and that they will take me seriously as a cyclist.” Asked if it was difficult to ride the event on you own Kate added “ it is always difficult to

Alexis Rhodes played a crucial role in the teams’ performance and the subsequent Gold and Silver medals. “We had a game plan and we stuck to it really well. We got the gold and silver, I didn’t get bronze but I did get a few points. It was a fantastic ride by Kate and Rochelle. I knew I had a job to do and I went out there and focused on that. It was my first major international event, I couldn’t have expected much more and I was able to do my job, I can’t ask for more than that.”

Supported by her friends, family and boy friend, Alexis added “they act like they don’t care about how I do but I reckon they are pretty nervous for me.” Asked about her recovery “I don’t dwell on what happened, I am taking it every day as it comes and enjoying want I do. Friends and family have become for much more important to me now and it’s great that they were here to see me ride.” On her role in the team Alexis added “I chased down everything that moved; that was my job and why I was selected in the team to support Kate and Rochelle, and tonight it paid off.” 

Nikki Harris (ENG), stepped up this year to the senior ranks, when asked how she felt she had this to say, “I stuck to my plan, which was to get a lap and I thought it was going to work when Kate came with me but the bunch came back up to us slowly, I tried to go again but it didn’t work” 

Emma Jones (nee Davis) “I am happy with my ride, it’s been a battle all the way to get back on my bike after the accident. Nothing really sank in until I got here in Australia but it is thanks to the support of British Cycling, who had faith in me and bought my ticket here. It wasn’t decided just over 8 week ago that I was going to make this event. I was just glad to be here tonight.” On the pursuit coming up, “I don’t think I am in enough shape to challenge for Gold or Silver but you never know I may be able to pull something out to be in a chance of bronze 

Gina Grain was not too disappointed with her ride tonight “it was probably my personal best points race I have ever done. Of course 4th place is a hair away from a medal so there is some degree of disappointment but personally that was my best race I am going away happy and it is a good stepping stone for what’s to come.” Looking forward to her next major event Gina added “my coach and I are happy with my performance and we can go into the World Championships in Bordeaux ready to race.”   

Asked if preparing in Australia for a number of weeks helped her performance Gina smiled “I have been doing the tours and the world cup in Sydney. I believe coming here and preparing like this has certainly helped my performance for the race tonight and the races ahead. I am looking forward to going back to North America to ride the stage races and joining Giant Pro for the World cup races.” We were out numbered tonight but we are please with how the team is performing.” About the team for the road, will the performance be affected by the recent injury to Lynn Bessette?

I am really excited about the road race coming up; my legs are feeling really great, it is good to prepare hard and feel that you are ready and peaking at the right time. Lynn is recovering well, its hard when your team leader is struggling but we have a strong team and we believe that we are in with a chance.”  

On the other team's performances, “I thought that after the tours and world cups that New Zealand team would be a bit stronger tonight but they were not as strong as we thought they would be. In the Geelong Tour and New Zealand Tour and World Cups the New Zealander dominated, they were definitely in our cards when we planned for tonight and to their credit they rode well tonight but we expected a bit more.” On the absence of Nicole Cooke, “it is always hard as elite athlete to make a decision not to ride an event. The track can be dangerous and has its’ risks but we are not concerned that she may be saving herself for the road.

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Photos    Click on any image to enlarge >>

IMG_7668 IMG_7679 IMG_7689 IMG_7701 IMG_7755
IMG_7793 IMG_7845 IMG_7906    

 

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