Barker ends 30-year wait in velo­drome for Wales

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Commonwealth Games - By Ben Bloom

Eli­nor Barker proved the ben­e­fit of rest to put in a dom­i­nant per­for­mance that se­cured Wales’ first Com­mon­wealth Games track cy­cling ti­tle for al­most 30 years.

Barker, an Olympic team pur­suit cham­pion, had cho­sen not to take part in ei­ther of the pur­suit races ear­lier in the week and her fresher legs showed, as she stole a lap mid­way through the women’s 25km points race to vault to the top of the stand­ings, be­fore hold­ing on to win gold.

“I think it’s more the fresh legs within the race,” said Barker, a for­mer world cham­pion in the event. “I didn’t con­test any of the first four sprints be­cause I re­ally wanted to take a lap.

“I’ve been study­ing races and watch­ing for signs of when peo­ple are strug­gling a little bit.”

Barker’s vic­tory forced Scot­land’s Katie Archibald to set­tle for sil­ver, while her Scot­tish team-mate Neah Evans made it an all-Bri­tish podium with bronze.

Amid a host of other medals for the home na­tions in the velo­drome, there were two im­pres­sive vic­to­ries in the blind and vis­ually im­paired (B&VI) events. So­phie Thorn­hill and He­len Scott won gold for Eng­land in the women’s B&VI 1000m time trial, break­ing their own world record and adding to their ear­lier sprint gold. Scot­tish pair Neil Fachie and Matt Rother­ham also picked up their sec­ond gold of the Games in the men’s B&VI sprint.

Else­where, the Brown­lee broth­ers went some way to­wards mak­ing up for their un­ex­pected dis­ap­point­ments in the in­di­vid­ual triathlon by win­ning the team relay sil­ver be­hind Aus­tralia.

Alis­tair, who was joined by brother Jonny, Vicky Hol­land and Jess Lear­month in the English team, failed to catch the home favourites, as he strug­gled with a calf in­jury on the fi­nal leg.

The dou­ble Olympic cham­pion ad­mit­ted he knew be­fore ar­riv­ing that he was not in shape to chal­lenge for gold. “It’s been a tough month, ev­ery day I’m wak­ing up and be­ing wor­ried about the calf,” Alis­tair said.

“I’ve had to deal with it and, be­ing on the start line for the first time ever know­ing I’m not go­ing to win the race, was pretty tough. A few months ago I would have been in a bril­liant po­si­tion to come here and be re­ally fit and win.”

Af­ter­wards the 29-year-old re­mained un­de­cided whether or not to con­tinue to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Eng­land’s Jack Oliver took weightlift­ing sil­ver in the men’s 77kg class, while there were shock de­feats for the lead­ing mem­bers of the English squash con­tin­gent, when de­fend­ing men’s cham­pion Nick Matthew and top women’s seed Laura Mas­saro both crashed out in the quar­ter-fi­nals.

Vin­di­ca­tion: Elinor Barker cel­e­brates gold in the points race after choos­ing to sit out pur­suit events

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.