Australia win double Commonwealth gold in cycling time trial events

  • Cameron Meyer shock winner after entering two weeks ago
  • Katrin Garfoot avenges Rio result with home triumph

Australia won both the women’s and men’s individual time trial cycling gold medals at the Commonwealth Games after Katrin Garfoot triumphed with a time of 35 minutes 8.09 seconds on Tuesday afternoon and Cameron Meyer was a shock winner in the earlier men’s competition.

Until two weeks ago, Meyer had no intention of competing in the road-based time trial race. Meyer is a specialist track cyclist, and was a medal favourite for the men’s 40km track points race.

“My coach approached me [two weeks ago] because he knew I had good road-racing form,” he said, after emerging a shock winner. “He sorted out a bike for me and got all my measurements, and I just thought I’d give it a crack. I just thought, ‘I’m on the Gold Coast anyway, why not go for the challenge?’”

In a high quality race, Meyer stopped the clock at 48:13.04 after setting an average speed of 47.9kph around the 38.5km street course. England’s Harry Tanfield edged Hamish Bond of New Zealand for silver – after the latter, an Olympic rowing champion, had switched sports following the 2016 Games in Rio – but the story of the day was undoubtedly that of Meyer, who had not competed in a road race for two and a half years.

“I broke my collarbone in the last road race I did [two and a half years ago], and that put me off, but I’m really happy I gave it a second shot,” he said.

Asked how he had managed to perform so well, Meyer said he had to draw on his prior knowledge of road cycling. “I think experience was the biggest factor I could call on today. Making sure that you’re doing all of the right cornering, aerodynamics, keeping the right speed, keeping the right gears... I just had to call on all that experience [from the past] because I hadn’t ridden the time trial in so long.

“I don’t have the time trial legs that I used to have but today I somehow pulled something out that I know will be a special moment in my career. I’m really glad I took the challenge, and today was my day.”

Like Matthew Glaetzer’s earlier failure to qualify for the final of his pet event, Meyer had disappointed in the Anna Meares velodrome on Sunday, coming in fourth in the 40km track cycling points race.

“I missed my target in the points race, so I did have fire in my belly going out there today,” he said, acknowledging that pressure may have been a factor. “It was strange for me not to [win a] medal on the track as I was a favourite going in. I think it’s because there was a lot of pressure and expectation on me, and that might have got to my head.

On the contrary, he said, there was no expectation on him to win the time trial.

“It [road cycling] is something I hadn’t done in a while and I had nothing to lose. If I had finished two minutes down I would have been like ‘Oh, OK’. Today was a sweet win for my career and I’m really happy.”

Despite Meyer’s success, he said he has no plans to switch gears to road cycling.

“At the moment my main goal is track cycling at the Olympics, but this has definitely inspired me to do more time trial [road] racing. I think I’m in a headspace now [where] I just like taking on new challenges. I’m just loving my cycling again and I’m loving little challenges like this.”

Katrin Garfoot
Katrin Garfoot was thrilled to win gold at her home Commonwealth Games. Photograph: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

In the women’s competition, Garfoot was first ahead of Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) and Hayley Simmonds (England) who took silver and bronze respectively.

Garfoot finished ninth in the same event at Rio Olympics, despite being expected to medal, and said the result went some way towards making up for that disappointment. “After I did so badly in Rio, I just wanted to come home and win here,” said the Gold Coast local. “It’s a good place to succeed.”

As a Gold Coast resident, Garfoot had plenty of time to familiarise herself with the Games route. “I reckon I’ve ridden the course every other day since February,” she said.

Garfoot said she had largely been unaware of the noise of the crowd as she competed, so determined was she to win the event. “I didn’t even notice the people around here, I was just too focused. I heard the noise, but nothing specific. I waited until I crossed the finish line to look around.”

Australia’s Callum Scotson finished the men’s race in fourth after suffering a flat tyre in the first section of the course, and losing 15-20 seconds as a result. “It was a little bit my fault,” said Scotson. “I went out too far when the stones were on the road and punctured. I had to try not to panic and waste time.”


Kate O’Halloran on the Gold Coast

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