Aaron Gate poses for a photo with the gold medal after the
men's omnium final at the 2013 UCI Track Cycling World
Championships in Minsk. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
Twenty-two-year-old rookie Aaron Gate had an agonising
wait before being crowned track cycling world champion in
Minsk, Belarus today.
Gate won the gruelling six-discipline with a magnificent
display on the second day, winning two of the three events
and beating his two key rivals in the other.
It was a stunning performance in his first omnium at
international level, beating off the challenges from
defending world champion Glenn O'Shea of Australia and
Olympic champion Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark.
Gate had a 10 minute wait for a re-ride by O'Shea who
suffered a mechanical issue with his bike but the Australian
was unable to match the time, meaning the Kiwi had won the
gold medal and cycling's famed rainbow jersey.
"It's not sunk in. I was an unknown really because I've not
really done one before so to come away with a world title is
every cyclist's dream, so I couldn't be happier," Gate said.
It proved a nervous wait for O'Shea's re-ride.
"The heart was pumping. I knew he [O'Shea] was a team
pursuiter too and would be able to ride a good kilo. I
couldn't really celebrate until after that ride. He was
holding second place really close right up to the last lap.
It was a pretty nerve-wracking few minutes.
"Once he crossed the line and I saw the time I was ecstatic.
It was great to have the support from the BikeNZ support
staff and the sprinters in the pits that made it all worth
it. I had a feeling of relief and I am just overjoyed."
It is the second omnium world title claimed by a New
Zealander after Hayden Godfrey won in Manchester in 2008, and
it is third medal won by the compact five-strong contingent
in Minsk following the silver medals by the men's team sprint
and Simon Van Velthooven in the 1km time trial.
There's one more chance for a medal tomorrow with former
triple junior world champion Sam Webster through to the
semifinals of the men's sprint, after disposing of the
Olympic champion Jason Kenny (GBR) in two straight rides in
Gate has worked hard on the timed races in the camp leading
in to the championships with coach Dayle Cheatley, which bore
fruit with fastest time in the flying lap on the first day.
He repeated that effort with a personal best 4:21:60 to be
fastest in the 4000m individual pursuit which moved him to a
share of second place overall.
While Britain's world junior champion Jonathan Dibben and
Jasper De Buyst (BEL) lapped the field to dominate the
scratch race, Gate outsprinted his two key rivals for fourth
placing, which took him into a share of the lead with O'Shea
with Hansen falling two points behind in third.
Hansen set the standard of 1:02.437 in the penultimate
pairing of the final 1km time trial, while Gate had to get
under the time of the second placed Lucas Liss (GER) of
1:02.949 and beat O'Shea in his first ever kilo in
international competition in order to grab the rainbow
O'Shea suffered a mechanical problem on his first lap but
Gate was not put off, powering on in a solo ride to clock
1:02.271 to go to the top of the order, a time that would
have won a medal in the individual discipline at the recent
He then had to wait 10 minutes until the re-ride, but the
Australian could only manage the fifth fastest time to ensure
the young Kiwi had claimed the coveted rainbow jersey.
"I wasn't too sure what to expect about the flying lap as it
was the first one ever at this level of competition. But I
knew I had a good individual pursuit in me after the time I
clocked at the national championships and the kilo is just
everything else you have left in the tank and luckily I had
enough left to post that time. It is such a great feeling,"
He is now hoping to add the omnium to the team pursuit
aspirations for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"It is early days yet. I guess I have shown that I can ride
it well and hopefully I can still improve in the other
events. The points race I was quite disappointed because it
is a race I am usually strong in, so there's a bit to learn
there because it is different style of race in an omnium
where everyone is trying to conserve as much energy as
possible. I am definitely looking at it as an option going
forward alongside the team pursuit."
National sprint champion Webster was in stunning form today,
qualifying third fastest in 9.958s, the first time the 21
year old Aucklander has gone under the magical 10 second
It is the fastest time that a New Zealander has ridden at
sea-level, pipping the 9.963s set by Eddie Dawkins in
qualifying at last year's championships in Melbourne,
although compatriot Matt Archibald went faster at altitude in
January's World Cup meet in Mexico.
Webster was untroubled in dispatching Frenchman Charlie
Conord and Spain's Juan Peralta Gascon in the first two
rounds of single elimination races.
The former triple world junior champion faced the might of
the Olympic gold medallist Jason Kenny in the best of three
quarterfinal, with the Englishman coming to the championships
in strong form, winning the keirin gold medal on the second
Webster came over the top of Kenny to win the first ride and
held him off after going early in the second ride to move
through to the semifinal and add a much-sought after scalp to
his belt, averaging 71kph for the final lap in the process.
Van Velthooven was 11th fastest in qualifying in 10.103s
before disposing of Australian Andrew Taylor and Great
Britain's Matthew Crampton in the first two rounds.
However he was beaten by Germany's Stefan Botticher in the
deciding third ride of the quarter-finals and settled for
eighth place in the bunch ride for the minor placings.
Ethan Mitchell (Auckland), qualified 17th fastest in 10.164s
but was eliminated by Australia's Matthew Glaetzer in the
Webster is the only New Zealander in action on the final day
Sprint qualifying: Francois Pervis (FRA) 9.879, 1; Robert
Forstemann (GER) 9.924, 2; Sam Webster (NZL) 9.958, 3. Also:
Simon Van Velthooven (NZL) 10.103, 11; Ethan Mitchell (NZL)
First round: Webster bt Charlie Conord (FRA) 1-0; Van
Velthooven bt Andrew Taylor (AUS) 1-0; Matthew Glaetzer (AUS)
bt Mitchell 1-0.
Second round: Van Velthooven bt Matthew Crampton (GBR) 1-0;
Webster bt Juan Peralta Gascon (ESP) 1-0.
Quarterfinal (best of 3): Pervis bt Glaetzer 2-0; Stefan
Botticher (GER) bt Van Velthooven 2-1; Sam Webster bt Jason
Kenny (GBR) 2-0; Denis Dmitriev (RUS) bt Maximillan Levy
Ride for 5th to 8th: Glaetzer 5, Levy 6, Kenny 7, Van
Omnium (day 2), 4000m individual pursuit: Aaron Gate (NZL)
4:21.60, 1; Lasse Norman Hansen (DEN) 4:22.73, 2; Artur
Ershov (RUS) 4:25.92, 3. Points after 4 events: Glenn O'Shea
(AUS) 11, Hansen 12, Gate 12.
15km Scratch race: Jonathan Dibben (GBR) 1, Jasper De Buyst
(BEL) 2, Ho Ting Kwok (HKG) 3. Also: Gate 5, O'Shea 6, Hansen
7. Points after 5 events: Gate 17, O'Shea 17, Hansen 19.
1km Time Trial: Gate 1:02.272, 1; Hansen 1:02.437, 2; Lucas
Liss (GER) 1:02.949, 3.
Final points: Gate 18 points, 1; Hansen 21 points, 2; O'Shea
22 points, 3.