Men’s Individual Pursuit
There were only really two questions to be answered in the Individual Pursuit – Would the Aussies get a 1-2-3? And, if not, who would join them on the podium. An unlucky draw put Great Britain’s hope of spoling the party up in the first heat. If he set a competitive time, the Australians would have ample to time to adjust their riders’ schedules. He clocked 4:17.265 which was respectable, but even at this stage looked more likely to be a Bronze medal ride time that a challenge for Gold.
Nonetheless, Thomas stayed well clear at the top end of the leaderboard until the last couple of heats. Westley Gough of New Zealand knocked him down to second with a 4:17.001 but then the first of the Aussies – Rohan Dennis – posted a 4:16.051. With reigning World Champion and World Record holder Jack Bobridge and his Team Pursuit team mate Michael Hepburn to go in the final heat, Thomas’ chances of a medal were hanging by a thread.
The two Australians were ranked 1 and 2 from the first lap and it was Bobridge who pulled out over a second on his opponent in the opening half. Impressively, though, Hepburn clawed it all back and took a second out of Bobridge in the closing 2km to finish on 4:13.244 with Bobrdige clocking 4:14.783.
1 HEPBURN Michael AUS 4:13.224
2 BOBRIDGE Jack AUS 4:14.783
3 DENNIS Rohan AUS 4:16.051
4 GOUGH Westley NZL 4:17.001
The two medal rides were almost mirrors of the final heat with Dennis pulling well ahead of Gough before the Kiwi ensured there would be no clean sweep, powering through in the closing stages to take almost two seconds out of the Australian and secure the Bronze. And in the final Bobridge started the faster and pulled well clear before, inevitably, Hepburn reeled him in. If the crowd thought they might see an 8th World Record they were disappointed – the times were two seconds off the qualifying pace – but the times didn’t matter to Hepburn who was a second and a half up on Bobridge at the finish.
GOLD HEPBURN Michael AUS 4:15.839
SILVER BOBRIDGE Jack AUS 4:16.313
BRONZE GOUGH Westley NZL 4:16.945
4 DENNIS Rohan AUS 4:18.594