Fachie and MacLean strike again

  • Last Updated: July 26 2014, 20:05 BST

Scottish tandem riders Neil Fachie and Craig MacLean raised the roof of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome with a second gold in as many days, roared on by the man who leant the venue its name.

Neil Fachie with Craig Maclean celebrate their second gold
Neil Fachie with Craig Maclean celebrate their second gold

Visually impaired para-cyclist Fachie and his vastly experienced pilot MacLean, a silver medallist alongside Hoy in the team sprint 14 years ago at the Sydney Olympics, came from 1-0 behind in their best-of-three final against Australia's Kieran Modra and Jason Niblett to win 2-1.

They had already tasted Glasgow glory in Friday's 1,000 metre time-trial, but looked as though they would have to settle for silver this time as they laboured in the opening effort.

However, with the deafening cheers of the home crowd spurring them on, the duo summoned two mighty performances from their weary legs, clinching gold with one last sprint for the line.

Just as he had on day two, Fachie celebrated by unfurling a Saltire and holding it aloft on the lap of honour.

Matching flags popped up around the stands as the decibel count reached new levels.

Having taken it all in, 42-year-old MacLean wondered aloud whether his old friend Hoy might not have been regretting his decision to retire before a home Games.

"This is something I never thought would happen in my career, certainly," he said. "I'm sure Chris is enjoying his retirement. I bet he is half wishing he was on the boards here performing in front of the home nation. He taught me everything he knows.

"This crowd getting behind you definitely gives you something extra, no doubt about that.

"It's such a special occasion and to have a Scottish suit on as well, it's not often you get to do that."

Fachie picked up the theme, crediting the fans for dragging him over the line when he was ready to drop.

"We'd pretty much settled for silver after the first race, but things worked out perfectly," he said. "The crowd was phenomenal on that final ride - they helped the pain disappear.

"If we didn't do it here in front of this crowd, we'd always have regretted it.

"I have no idea how we found what we did at the end."

Matthew Ellis and Ieuan Williams of Wales missed out on the podium after losing their bronze medal ride.

At the other end of the track spectrum, there was a first medal of the Games for the Isle of Man as Peter Kennaugh celebrated silver in the gruelling 40km points race.

Kennaugh, a Team Sky rider and an Olympic champion at London 2012 in the team pursuit, put in a tireless shift to finish runner-up behind Tom Scully on 84 points - lapping the field three times in 160 laps and collecting 24 points in the sprints.

As well as being the first Manx medal of the 2014 Games, it was also just the 11th in the island's history.

Team England finished day three without a podium appearance, but Jess Varnish fought her way into Sunday's bronze medal sprint match.

Varnish, who already has one bronze this week after her performance in the 500m time-trial, qualified third fastest and defeated team-mate Victoria Williamson in the last eight.

But she came up against the great five-time Commonwealth champion Anna Meares of Australia in the semi-final and lost despite a spirited showing.

Varnish's former team sprint partner Victoria Pendleton was Meares' arch rival for many years and she had messaged advice on how to approach the head-to-head.

"I've been texting Vic throughout the day. It's been really helpful," Varnish said.

"I was as close as I've been (against Meares) but I'm still disappointed because I want to win.

"At the same time, the one person I probably don't mind losing to at the moment is Anna. She is a bit of a legend in track cycling."

Scott Sutherland of Australia set a new Games record to win the 1,000m time-trial, with England's Ed Clancy edged out of the medals at the last moment to finish fourth.

It was another productive day for the Australian and New Zealand teams, who picked up nine of the available 12 medals between them, with Australia clear at the top of the cycling table on 15 overall.