It was Shane Archbold’s turn to take centre stage on the final day of track action at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow today.
Archbold timed his sprint perfectly in the men’s 20km scratch race to edge out fast-finishing Australian Glenn O’Shea, and also his room-mate at the professional An Post Sean Kelly professional team in Belgium.
Tom Scully, the recipient of Archbold’s selfless work on the way to his gold medal in the points race, turned provider tonight, laying the final platform and going on to finish eighth, while teammate Dylan Kennett did much of the early hard work before finishing 13th.
As with much of the track squad’s work in Glasgow, the race was a real team effort. Archbold took advantage of an early move and was joined by four other riders to put a lap on the field and from that point both Kennett and Scully played the support roles.
After Kennett was used up, Scully put in three vicious laps on the front to provide Archbold with the perfect leadout for the final sprint.
"Dylan and Tom rode so well for me and we did the perfect race,” Archbold said after the race. “Strongest and smartest team out there.
"It's been a long time coming and I've seen a lot of other people get success over and beyond me and I've always done the hard work. Today makes it pay off.
“It’s an incredible feeling and I am so delighted. I would like to celebrate but I am also backing up in the road race and have to knuckle down to more work tomorrow for that race in a week’s time.”
Rushlee Buchanan finished a creditable fifth in the women’s point race. She was one of eight riders who lapped the field and picked up some minor points in the sprints, but wasn’t quite able to score heavily enough to get among the medals.
Meanwhile Sam Webster continued his glorious Games run.
The 23-year-old picked up the silver medal in the keirin, the final event of the track schedule for the Commonwealth Games.
Webster had to work hard for the medal. He won his heat well in 10.577s, while Dawkins also dominated his heat to move to the second round. However Olympic medallist Simon van Velthooven, who had his build-up affected by illness, missed out and went into repechage which he was only able to finish third and was eliminated.
In the semifinals, Webster and Dawkins were outstanding and finished first and second in the same heat, to look forward to the final with confidence.
Dawkins rounded the field from the back in the final but ran out of fuel, while Webster broke out wide and late to come within a tyre width of winner and Oceania champion Matthew Glaetzer.
Webster’s silver meant he leaves Glasgow with two gold medals and a silver. The New Zealand track squad won 11 medals in Glasgow, including four gold, to topple the nine win at Delhi in 2010 and Auckland in 1990, under the guidance of national coach Ron Cheatley. His son Dayle now heads the BikeNZ coaching team and was delighted to edge out his father in the record books.
It has proven an outstanding campaign with four gold, two silver and five bronze medals to equal the total of 1 won in Delhi and one off the haul in 1990.
They will look forward to the mountain bike and road competition to raise the bar on their performances.