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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 20:58 GMT 21:58 UK

Aussies ride to gold

By Dewi Hughes
BBC Sport Online in Manchester

Australia picked up two gold medals here at the National Cycling Centre on Wednesday.

Brad McGee smashed his own Games record by nearly two seconds to win a third successive men's 4000m individual pursuit Commonwealth title.

And Ryan Bayley snatched gold by a width of a tyre in an exhilarating sprint final.

Bayley, 20, beat compatriot Sean Eadie in a photo-finish in the third and deciding heat of the 200m sprint.

"It was beautiful," enthused Bayley immediately afterwards. "I've come to the last corner, and Sean was ahead.

"Getting to the final was the main objective"
England's Bradley Wiggins

"I had no thought in my mind that I could come around him; I don't know how I did it."

Eadie had set a new Commonwealth Games record of 10.145 seconds in qualifying on Tuesday, but he failed to find such a time when it mattered most.

The bearded powerhouse had even suffered a scare in the semi-finals just to make it through for a shot at gold.

Compatriot Jobie Dajka, 20, seemed to be heading for victory in the third and deciding heat only to see Eadie overtake him on the finish line by the narrowest of margins.

Dajka had to console himself with a bronze medal after he had too much tactical know-how to beat England's Jamie Staff - a relative newcomer to the sport.

In the earlier individual pursuit event, McGee enjoyed an overwhelming victory over England's Bradley Wiggins on his way to gold and a Games record.

The 26-year-old, who is a two-time Olympic individual bronze medallist, had effectively won the race with just over half the distance to go.

"I was amazed to see him (Wiggins) so early," admitted McGee. "Brad is a good racer, a (professional) team-mate of mine so I know him quite well."

Wiggins was philasophical in defeat.

"Getting to the final was the main objective. I'm a little bit disappointed at the moment but I will look back in the morning and be pleased," he said.

Paul Manning had earlier secured the bronze for England by beating another Australian, Luke Roberts.

Both nations will continue their fierce rivalry in Thursday's men's 4000m team pursuit after they clocked the two fastest times in qualifying.

The Aussie quartet looked in imperious form as they set a new Games record of 4:04.032 to top the qualifying ranking.

"You don't give it four years of your life training to come third again"
New Zealand's Greg Henderson

England had also eclipsed the 4000m mark before their fierce rivals got on the track to clinch the second spot with two seconds to spare over New Zealand.

The Kiwis were awarded the bronze medal, even though Wales could have gone forward to a medal race-off as the fourth ranked team.

Much to their disappointment, that gave New Zealand a third successive team pursuit bronze in the Commonwealth Games.

"You don't come here for bronze medals," said team member Greg Henderson. "You don't give it four years of your life training to come third again.

"Everyone's here for that one colour - golf."

The Welsh, and the Scots who finished fifth, only entered the race to fulfil the minimum number of teams for a full competition.

Both nations had an illness in their team but, in keeping with the spirit of the Games, put together a quartet to contest the qualifying round.


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