Matt Glaetzer’s bid for a fifth Commonwealth Games gold medal has been shattered by a dramatic high-speed crash in the keirin.
Australia’s top sprint cyclist was left lying battered and bruised on London’s Olympic velodrome track, his kit torn and his bike damaged, after the 70kph spill in the precarious mass sprint event.
But his dreadful spill in the second round on Saturday was as nothing compared to England’s Joe Truman, who was hospitalised with a suspected broken collar-bone after requiring oxygen at trackside following the same incident.
There were cheers from the shocked crowd when Truman, who’d been motionless after hitting his head, came round and was able to sit up.
Glaetzer was being monitored overnight by team doctors and a decision will be made on Sunday morning about whether he can compete in the men’s sprint.
The high drama occurred after Maeve Plouffe, tipped as the next big Australian women’s cycling star, won a second medal in the space of 24 hours, adding the 3000m individual pursuit silver to the gold she annexed in the team event.
And following up from the track team’s golden hat-trick on the opening day, Plouffe’s fellow pursuiter Conor Leahy also grabbed his second bronze in two days in the men’s 4000m individual event.
But the medals were overshadowed by the crash featuring Glaetzer, who was seeking to win the keirin sprint for the third successive time.
Glaetzer’s bike clipped the back wheel of Scotland’s Jack Carlin as the bunched six-man field jostled for position on the final back straight, sending the Adelaide man crashing and taking Truman with him.
In the final later, Glaetzer’s colleague Matt Richardson was disappointed to be edged into fourth.
In a dramatic afternoon session, Plouffe’s colleague Sarah Roy also just missed out, beaten in the 3000m bronze medal race.
Adelaide’s 23-year-old Plouffe was thrilled on Friday to be part of the pursuit quartet which smashed the Games record and smiled she was gunning for the individual title.
But after qualifying second to set up a final against brilliant New Zealander pacesetter Bryony Botha, she found the Kiwi far too strong.
Botha, smashing the Games record of 3 minutes 19.836 seconds that she’d set in the morning, clocked a searing 3:18.456.
Plouffe, who’d finished in 3:21.995 in the morning race, reckoned she had miscalculated her tactics in the final, setting off too conservatively and ending 8.666 seconds behind in 3:27.122.
“That was really tough, I’m still very young and I’m still learning the tactical side of this race,” said Plouffe.
“This morning I went off way too hot, was very excited. So this afternoon, I was trying to be more conservative and be more controlled and leave some energy for the back end of the race.
“It was a mistake. If I could race it again, I’d have done it in a different way.”
Triple national pursuit champion Leahy, who’d been part of the bronze medal-winning pursuit team on Friday, was a little disappointed he didn’t make the final of the individual event as he finished third fastest qualifier.
“I was a little disappointed with the morning’s ride, I went out quicker than I was hoping and it bit me. But I really fought for it pretty well in the bronze medal race,” added Leahy, who defeated England’s defending champion Charlie Tanfield for the medal.