Commonwealth Games: Magnificent Mark Stewart strikes gold in cycling points race

SCOTLAND finished second on the cycling medals table as Mark Stewart rounded off the velodrome programme in thrilling fashion with victory in the points race.

An exhausted Mark Stewart celebrates his gold with the team PICTURE: AP
An exhausted Mark Stewart celebrates his gold with the team PICTURE: AP

The 22-year-old Dundonian produced the ride of his career to take gold ahead of England’s Ethan Hayter and New Zealand’s Campbell Stewart.

Earlier, Callum Skinner defied illness to win bronze in the men’s 1000m time trial final. with Australia’s Matt Glaetzer making up for his shock early sprint exit by clincing the title in a new Games record.

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In the women’s scratch race, Scotland’s Neah Evans won silver, adding to her points race bronze, while England’s Emily Kay won bronze and Australia’s Amy Cure took gold, with Katie Archibald raced out of the medals on the final lap.

It means Scotland finish with four golds at the Anna Meares velodrome and a medals tally only bettered by the dominant hosts.

Stewart added the perfect finish to what has been a triumphant few days, adding to the two golds of Neil Fachie and one for Katie Archibald, whose brother John played a key part in assisting his team-mate to victory, helping to nulify pre-race favourite Cam Meyer of Australia who was edged into fourth.

Stewart gained three laps on the field in the first half of the race to build a strong lead he kept to the end, finishing on 81 points.

That put him 12 clear of New Zealand’s Stewart in second, while England’s Hayter was one point further back to take bronze.

Scotland's Neah Evans celebrates with her silver medal and flag PICTURE: PA

“I’m really proud,” said former junior triathlete Stewart, whose father represented Scotland at Iron Man events. “That was a lot of hard work and it’s come together nicely. I’m only 22 but I feel like I’ve been at this ages. There’s been a lot of good days and a lot of bad days. This is up there with the good days.

“I knew going in this week the points race was always the goal. Riding the individual pursuit and the scratch race were almost activations for today. It worked, it doesn’t often work, so I’m surprised.”

Five-time world champion Meyer had started the favourite - the Australian usually does in any points race - but had to settle for fourth place as Stewart’s aggressive strategy paid off.

“I think when you ride against someone like Cam Meyer you can’t play his game,” Stewart added.

Callum Skinner right, with time trial silver medallist Edward Dawkins from New Zealand and gold medalist Matt Glaetzer from Australia PICTURE: AP

“He’s the best in the world at what he does. You don’t win however many world titles by chance, so you’ve got to take it to him and put him on the back foot. I think that’s why he keeps winning, because everyone follows him. He can follow me.”

Scotland's Neah Evans celebrates with her silver medal and flag PICTURE: PA
Callum Skinner right, with time trial silver medallist Edward Dawkins from New Zealand and gold medalist Matt Glaetzer from Australia PICTURE: AP