Omnium silver for Gate after brilliant points race

Aaron Gate has taken omnium silver. The final points race saw him climb from fifth overall and onto the podium where he fought a tense battle with Benjamin Thomas of France who eventually took the gold medal, with Albert Torres of Spain taking the bronze.

0
1046

Aaron Gate has taken omnium silver.  The final points race saw him climb from fifth overall and onto the podium where he fought a tense battle with Benjamin Thomas of France who eventually took the gold medal, with Albert Torres of Spain taking the bronze.

The final event of the men’s omnium, the points race, saw Aaron Gate with a very real chance of at least a medal in the event he won in 2013.  The new format was looking like it was to his liking after a strong performance particularly in the opening two events which saw him win the tempo race.  A little set back in the elimination race saw him drop to fifth overall but just 20 points adrift of the gold medal and heading into his favoured event.

How it happened:  Aaron Gate set to strike in men’s omnium finale

The points race was a 100 lap, 25km affair with 10 sprints along the way.  Every point won in the points race would count towards the total omnium points so everything was essential in the finale as Albert Torres of Spain headed into the final event with the lead.  The race got off to a very quick start with the pressure on from very early on.  A group of four riders quickly tried to establish a lead as splits began to be evident early on.  But nothing was succeeding just yet.

 

Aaron Gate rode a brilliant omnium, despite a setback in the elimination race. His points race was in some ways his finest hour as he moved from fifth to the silver medal and even duelled it out for the win, photo Guy Swarbrick

 

Aaron Gate led the way early and kept in a good position heading towards the first sprint.  With the bell lap he led the way and was challenged by Germany’s Maximilian Beyer.  Gate took third place in the first sprint to get his campaign off to a solid start with 89 laps remaining.  A new attack was ready to go though with Russia and Denmark stretching the legs.  Casper Pedersen was left out in front alone for Denmark and he managed to gain a reasonable lead as Mexico’s Edibaldo Maldonado tried to close the gap.

It looked like the move from Pedersen was one the bunch were happy to let go clear.  The Dane took the points while Aaron Gate broke away from the rest of the field to try and gain a lap on the rest of the field.  He hadn’t managed to take any points but he was very quick around the track and closing bit by bit as he tried to move up from what was now fourth place overall.  With 76 laps to go Gate had half a lap’s lead and he was continuing to close.

After catching Pedersen, Gate continued onwards and with three riders for company the catch was made with 72 laps remaining.  Gate caught up with the leaders to take 20 points and the virtual omnium lead by just 1 point with 70 laps to go.  Gate was also four points clear of Benjamin Thomas of France in third place in a race that was very tight at the top.

Gate kept his eyes on the front, but was happy to sit around the middle of the pack as the laps ticked away towards the next sprint.  With 64 laps to go a brief attack went clear but it was reeled in ready for the next sprint.  Albert Torres fought back to take the sprint and Gate was out of the points, so the lead went back to the Spaniard as the race headed towards the halfway point.

 

With 56 laps to go Gate was back on the front of the race and marking Torres as Gael Suter made a move for Switzerland only to be chased by Szymon Sajnok of Poland.  The race was stretching out though with a number of riders just beginning to feel the pace getting to them.  On to the next sprint and this time Aaron Gate was on hand to take one point.  Significantly though the sprint before saw a change as Albert Torres was relegated from the sprint.  This meant that Gate retained his overall lead and with the 1 point at the halfway sprint now had a 2 point advantage overall.

Heading towards 40 laps to go Aaron Gate kept the pace high on the front of the race and looked like he might even be trying to stretch things out again.  He launched an attack with Benjamin Thomas of France; a formidable partnership if they could make their move work.  They were being chased by four riders but neither of them were Albert Torres who looked to be struggling.  On the bell the catch was made by the chase group of four and Gate took second in the sprint to stretch things a little more from Torres.  But now Benjamin Thomas – who took the sprint’s 5 points – held the overall lead by 1 point.

The group of six continued to work together, but there was a new battle forming between Gate and Thomas who were both in the move.  But with a lull in the pace Aaron Gate attacked once again and this time went solo.  He had a small gap with 35 laps to go and proceeded to grow his lead to a quarter of a lap with the run in to the next sprint coming up.  Gate was looking in his familiar element, putting the hurt on everybody.  At the bell Gate was pushing ahead and was going to take maximum points in the sprint.  He took the sprint and in doing so stepped into the overall lead by 3 points.  He persisted with his attack though but now he was being pursued by Benjamin Thomas who dragged the field along.  Finally Gate was caught, and the bunch resumed normal service.

The Danish rider Pedersen made another move and with 24 laps to go had about a quarter lap advantage, but now it looked like the riders would be keen to contest the sprint points; but they couldn’t peg back Pedersen who took 5 points.  Gate was well positioned for the sprint in the bunch and he took a single point, but Thomas took second in the sprint to move within 1 point of the lead.  Soon Pedersen was caught and the field settled down as Oliveira of Portugal and Australia’s Sam Welsford attacked together.

Benjamin Thomas marked Gate closely as Albert Torres made a big move to try and chase, which forced a response from Aaron Gate and Benjamin Thomas together.  Thomas refused to work though and it was left to Gate to do the chasing.  At the bell Torres led with Roy Eefting of the Netherlands, but Thomas passed Gate to take back one point and draw level on points.  Gate, Thomas Torres and Eefting all managed to take another lap but now it was neck and neck between the Kiwi and the Frenchman to decide who would get the world title in the final sprint.

With 5 laps to go Aaron Gate made another attempt to accelerate and stretch the field.  Thomas was on his wheel immediately and the pair marked each other out.  With two laps to go it was still all to play for as Sam Welsford led out the sprint.  Thomas made a big move with the bell lap and this time Aaron Gate couldn’t respond, as the Frenchman sprinted away to take third place in the final sprint but first place overall.

Gate’s points race was enough to see him take the silver medal; just two points behind Thomas, with Albert Torres securing the bronze medal 9 points back.  Just minutes later Ethan Mitchell would complete a brilliant night for New Zealand by taking the bronze medal in the individual sprint.

 

Results:
Pos. Rider Nation Points

1

Benjamin Thomas FRA

149

2

Aaron Gate NZL

147

3

Albert Torres ESP

138

4

Simone Consonni ITA

121

5

Roy Eefting NED

119

6

Casper Pedersen DEN

99

7

Sam Welsford AUS

94

8

Szymon Sajnok POL

85

9

Maximilian Beyer GER

78

10

Ivo Oliveira POR

77

11

Gael Suter SUI

60

12

Linda De Vylder BEL

58

13

Sultanmurat Miraliyev KAZ

36

14

Sanghoon Park KOR

32

15

Raman Tsishkou BLR

28

16

Viktor Manakov RUS

27

17

Chun Wing Leung HKG

26

18

Christopher Latham GBR

22

19

Shunpike Imamura JPN

21

20

Roman Gladysh UKR

8

21

Edibaldo Maldonado Rayas MEX

0

 

Photo:  Guy Swarbrick

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here