Commonwealth Games: Record haul for Oz's track stars

Astonishing 12 gold medal sweep

All-conquering Australia completed their devastating assault on the Commonwealth Games track cycling medals today, ending the week with a record-breaking 12 titles out of 14.

In a show of their dominance, they managed a Games record in the men's team sprint despite their lead rider being struck down with the notorious "Delhi belly" stomach virus and their star sprinter dropping out of the squad.

The only podium top spots to elude them during four days of near-perfect riding at the Indira Gandhi velodrome were the men's keirin and the women's individual pursuit.

"We have a strong but young team," said Cameron Meyer, who led the charge with a third title as Australia's formidable endurance riders took gold and silver in the men's 25km scratch race. "We're all working hard to look forward to the London Olympics in 2012. That's the ultimate goal for us – to win gold in London."

Meyer surged ahead halfway through the 20km scratch race and punched the air as he lapped the field with 33 circuits to go. "I'd have been happy with one gold," he said. "I've got three and you can't take the smile off my face."

Meyer is the first Australian man to achieve three gold medals in Games track cycling at a single championships. Earlier in the Games, his teammate Anna Meares matched his achievement, also winning three golds.

In the team sprint, Dan Ellis, bedridden two days ago with a stomach bug, recovered to gift the Australians a perfect start as he and team-mates Jason Niblett and Scott Sunderland powered around ahead of rivals New Zealand.

"Dan went off perfectly for us, starting as quickly as he was running to the toilet the other day," Niblett joked. "The gold medal is the icing on the cake. The morale here is insane. Everyone seems to be getting a PB (personal best) or a gold."

Niblett came into the team after star rider Shane Perkins pulled out of the event. He withdrew after flipping the finger at Commonwealth Games officials who disqualified him from the gold medal ride-off in the keirin on Wednesday.

The only sour note for the Australians today was their failure to pick up a medal in the women's 3,000m individual pursuit, which went to Alison Shanks of New Zealand.

© AFP 2010

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