Commonwealth Games: More gold for Fachie, MacLean

NEIL Fachie and Craig MacLean raised the roof of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome for the second time in as many days, winning their second gold medal with a thrilling final ride in the men’s sprint B tandem.

Scotland's Neil Fachie, left, and pilot Craig MacClean win gold in the Men's Para-Sport Sprint B Tandem final against Australia. Picture: Jane Barlow

Visually impaired para-cyclist Fachie and his vastly experienced pilot MacLean, a silver medallist alongside Hoy in the team sprint at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, came from 1-0 behind in their best-of-three final against Australia’s Kieran Modra and Jason Niblett to win 2-1.

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It follows their storming success in the 1,000m time-trial, with both victories roared on by a capacity crowd and celebrated by Fachie unfurling a Saltire to deafening acclaim.

The home favourites looked to have run out of gas after two days of intense competition when their Australia rivals - opponents in the world championships finals as well as Friday’s TT - powered to victory in the opening race.

But Fachie and MacLean dug deep to level up at 1-1, forcing a decider which they took control of on the back straight before putting clear air between the silver medallists as they hunted the line.

Earlier, Elinor Barker picked up Wales’ second cycling bronze with an impressive late surge in the 10 kilometre scratch race, edging England’s Dani King and Scotland’s Katie Archibald out of the medals.

Nineteen-year-old Barker, a two-time team pursuit world champion with Team GB, held on to third place in the bunch race as a group of riders sprinted for the line in the last of 40 laps.

King put in a fine performance too, finishing fourth after staying towards the head of the pack in the closing stages, while Archibald had to settle for fifth after initiating the final sprint only to be hauled in.

Australia continued their fine Games on the track, as Annette Edmondson claimed gold to go with her individual pursuit silver, and Amy Cure banked silver.

Double OIympic champion Laura Trott, who missed out on the finals of the individual pursuit, endured another disappointment as she finished 11th in the scratch.

Rowsell, who claimed IP gold on Friday, was never in contention this time and came in 19th of 24.

Barker said: “It was absolutely perfect really. If it was perfect there would have been another 20 metres of track. I had the speed to come round but I’m unbelievabely happy.

“It was so close I didn’t realise I had won a medal. I was in an absolutely awful position with two laps to go, eighth or ninth and I thought ‘this is it, I’m not going to make it to the front’ but I had the speed and I saw the line and knocked people out of the way and made it to the line.

“That was one of the gutsiest rides I’ve ever done. I was a little bit nervous and I warmed into it and by the end I had the professional mentality again.”

King was happy with her ride despite just missing the podium and praised the Glaswegian support.

She said: “I can only take positives really in the way I felt and the way I rode really. It’s just a shame it didn’t work out in the end.

“The atmosphere is amazing., It just reminds me of the Olympic Games. It is so noisy to have so much support, It’s not even the Scots supporting the Scots, everyone is for Great Britain so it’s a really nice atmosphere. It’s not about the Scottish rivalry at all, everyone is just cheering on each other which is really nice.”

In the women’s sprint England’s Jess Varnish was beaten by the dominant Anna Meares at the semi-final stage, leaving her with the chance of a second bronze of the Games.

Varnish had easily beaten team-mate Victoria Williamson in the last eight, having qualified third fastest, but could not defeat Olympic champion Meares, who already has 500m time-trial gold this week.

Victoria Pendleton, Varnish’s former sprint team-mate and one-time arch rival of Meares, had texted tactical advice to her friend before the race to no avail.

Varnish came within inches of winning the first race but was outwitted in the second.

She will now take on Malaysian Fatehah Mustapa for bronze.

Referring to Pendleton’s messages, Varnish said: “I’ve been texting her throughout the day. It’s been really helpful.

“I was as close as I’ve been (against Meares) but I’m still disappointed because I want to win.

“At the same time, the one person I probably don’t mind losing to at the moment is Anna, but I don’t want to be losing to her in any more races.

“She is a bit of a legend in track cycling.”