Aussie cyclists in 'staggering' handlebars drama at Comm Games

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·Sports Reporter
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Aussie cyclist Matthew Richardson, pictured here at the Commonwealth Games.
AusCycling announced Aussie cyclists would have to change their handlebars ahead of the 1000m men's trial at the Commonwealth Games. (Getty Images)

Australian Cycling left the Commonwealth Games in shock on Monday after announcing their handlebar equipment wasn't safe only hours before an incredible day in the velodrome in Birmingham.

AusCycling officials made the bizarre announcement that the handlebars in use for the Aussie team were not safe for competition, and a change was needed only hours before a race.

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The heavier replacement handlebars were expected to cost the Aussie cyclists close to 1.5 seconds, according to Australian great Katey Bates.

"Following extensive testing and an exhaustive investigation of alternatives, it has been determined that the pursuit bars due to be used in today's men's 1000m time trial at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games cannot be used safely," a statement read.

"As a result, our riders will use drop bars which can tolerate the loads generated during the competition, but will likely result in marginally slower times."

But despite the staggering act of self-sabotage in using the heavier handlebars, what unfolded in the velodrome had the cycling world stunned.

Matthew Glaetzer produced an all-time ride to take the gold medal in the men's 1000m time trial and compatriot Tom Cornish finished in second place.

Glaetzer's incredible run catapulted him into legendary status having equalled Anna Meares for five Commonwealth Games gold medals.

Matthew Glaetzer and Thomas Cornish, pictured here after the men's 1000m time trial at the Commonwealth Games.
Matthew Glaetzer and Thomas Cornish pose with their medals after the men's 1000m time trial at the Commonwealth Games. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Heartbreak for Aussie cyclist Matthew Richardson

However, it was heartbreak for Matthew Richardson in the time trial.

Richardson, who won gold on Monday, finished in fourth spot having lost out to Trinidad and Tobago's Nicholas Paul.

The Aussie very well could have finished in the medals if it wasn't for the heavier handlebar equipment.

However, this only highlighted just how well both Glaetzer and Cornish rode in the velodrome.

“I cannot believe my eyes. I cannot believe what I’m seeing here,” Bates said after the race.

“That was absolutely staggering. This is becoming the velodrome where records are broken and dreams are made.”

An investigation into the safety of the team's handlebars took place after the Tokyo Olympics when Alex Porter crashed at 65km/h when his equipment broke.

The review was only handed down hours before the men's 1000m trial.

“We acknowledge that this decision has created a degree of disappointment, but the riders and the broader team understand that safety is our top priority,” AusCycling general manager of performance Jesse Korf said.

“We have made significant changes to procedures, team structure and process since the Tokyo Olympics and this decision is reflective of a new and thorough approach to long-term engineering excellence, competitive success, and athlete welfare.”

It attributed part of the blame to governance issues, finding the custom-made pursuit handlebars designed to maximise performance were not adequately tested.

with agencies

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