Glasgow 2014: Fachie, MacLean claim cycling gold
Aberdeen’s Neil Fachie and pilot Craig MacLean have reunited to golden effect to earn Scotland’s first track cycling gold medal at the Sir Chris HoyVelodrome.
The pair triumphed in the para-cycling 1000m tandem trial for blind and visually impaired athletes after clocking 1.02.096. It is the first time the event has been staged at the Commonwealth Games and the fact they should come out on top at Glasgow-hosted tournament made it all the sweeter for Fachie and the experienced MacLean, who won the kilo and sprint events as a pair at the 2011 world championships in Italy.
Fachie has raced with different partners at the London Olympics and this year’s world championships.
Watched by comedian Billy Connolly among thousands of others, Fachiedismounted from his bike at the end and immediately fell to his knees onto the pine, in a mixture of exhaustion, relief and celebration. Fachie andMacLean were faster than silver medallists Kieran Modra and Jason Niblettby 0.148 secs as every ounce of effort the Scots put in counted.
Wales’ Matt Ellis and Ieuan Williams finished third to win bronze.
Born with a degenerative eye condition known as Retinitis Pigmentosa, Fachie started his sporting career as a para-sprinter but switched to cycling after the Beijing Olympics. Already a reigning world and Olympic champion, this was his first medal at the Commonwealth Games.
There was an extra significance for MacLean, who won a gold medal at the age of 42 in the arena named after good friend and former teammate ChrisHoy, with whom he earned an Olympic team sprint silver as long ago as 2000 in Sydney.
Katie Archibald watched her compatriots receive their gold medal before setting out herself in an attempt to win bronze in the women’s 3000m individual pursuit event. Having posted a Scottish record time to qualify for the chance to win bronze, she could not get quite close enough to this earlier time, clocking 3.37.078. Had she posted her heat time of 3.33.536 she would have won a bronze, but this went instead to Australia’s Amy Cure.
England’s Joanna Rowsell earned the gold medal in a time of 3.31.615, with Australia’ Annette Edmondson winning silver. Edmondson’s brother Alex later earned another silver medal for the family when finishing second in the men’s 4000m individual pursuit, with gold going to compatriot JackBobridge .
England’s Jason Kenny won a silver medal in the men’s sprint after losing out to New Zealand’s Sam Webster in a winner-takes-all third race.