GLENN O’Shea’s reign as the omnium world champion ended in yesterday’s dramatic final at the UCI world track cycling titles in Minsk, Belarus.
After five of six omnium rounds Eaglehawk’s O’Shea and New Zealander Aaron Gate led the race for gold on 17 points, with Olympic champion Lasse Hansen of Denmark only two points behind.
An absorbing duel was to be decided by the 1km time trial.
Hansen clocked 1:02.437, but Gate scorched over the four laps in 1:02.271.
Just after starting his race against the clock, O’Shea threw his arm in the air to indicate that he had a problem.
“I came out of the gate and did something to the back wheel. I think I might have broke it or something and I think it was a good start,” said O’Shea.
He then had to deal with confusion as officials firstly agreed he could restart immediately, but then changed their minds and directed him to wait until after the women’s point race medal ceremony.
“It probably wouldn’t have mattered in the end result,” said O’Shea.
Gate’s time gave him the gold medal with 18 points, three clear of silver medallist Hansen.
O’Shea rode the fifth best time on his second kilometre attempt and finished third on 22 points.
Cycling Australia endurance coach Matthew Gilmore said the mishap had little influence on the outcome.
“We were actually hoping for a quicker restart purely because he was ready to go, but to be perfectly honest Aaron Gate in particular today was in a class of his own,” said Gilmore.
“Gate has a great ride in the IP (individual pursuit), very solid in scratch race and pulled out a blistering time in the time trial.
“All in all I think Glenn can be very pleased the way he’s bounced back, particularly after the Olympic Games.
“I’m very pleased for Glenn, and although he’s slightly disappointed, he’s still happy with his result.”
A dual winner of the Bendigo Advertiser Sports Star of the Year, which is proudly supported by WIN Television and bankmecu, O’Shea won silver in the teams pursuit and was fifth in the omnium at last year’s London Olympics.
A major focus leading into Minsk was improving his bunch race performances in the omnium.
“In the timed events I was probably a little bit off or around the same and I expected that and hoped to be better in the bunch races, which I was,” O’Shea said.
“The past couple of months I’ve probably struggled a little bit where I’ve been working really hard in the bunch races and wondering where the training’s going, but I’m really happy with how I went.
“Gate showed in the timed events how good he was.
“It’s the first time he’s ridden the omnium, so he’s obviously going to be a contender in three years’ time, which I hope to be as well.
“I should get to know him well by then; this year we’re riding in the same road team.”
O’Shea started this world titles campaign by winning gold in the teams pursuit on the opening day of competition in Belarus.
He will team with fellow team pursuit gold medallist Alexander Edmondson in the madison final.
“When you’re a ‘jack of all trades’ like Glenn is, that comes with the territory,” said Gilmore of O’Shea’s heavy race schedule.
O’Shea and Edmondson, who will race at next month’s Bendigo International Madison with Luke Davison, are both based at the South Australia Sports Institute where Tim Decker is coach.
O’Shea is a dual winner of Bendigo’s great race and a finalist for the 2012-13 Sports Star award, which will be presented this Friday at the All Seasons in Bendigo.