Where to now for the flying ‘Scud’ Tom Scully?
NATHAN BURDON IN GLASGOW
BikeNZ want Commonwealth Games points-race champion Tom Scully to compete in the omnium at the Olympics in two years' time but his future remains up in the air.
The problem for New Zealand cycling - and Scully - is that the points race won't be on the programme in Rio.
Scully has dominated the demanding event - with the support of good friends Aaron Gate, who also won bronze, and Shane Archbold, he claimed the New Zealand track team's third gold medal in Glasgow yesterday morning to go with his silver medal at the world championships in February.
The 24-year-old's incredible abilities on the bike make him a natural for the six-event omnium, especially the bunch events - the points, scratch and elimination races.
''It's decision time at the end of the year,'' the man they call 'Scud' said soon after watching the New Zealand flag being raised at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
''There's always contracts [to consider] with the road teams and that's coming up pretty soon. I've got some meetings with the high performance squad for the track programme, as well, with what's happening going forward,'' he said.
''I'll look forward to those and working out what is going to be best for me in the future.'' It's clear Scully would like to continue riding the tarmac and the boards.
He had a release in his contract with English professional team Madison Genesis which allowed him to take part in the Commonwealth Games, although he was also grateful for the support they had given him.
''I love racing the track, I love racing the road, I love doing them both,'' he said.
''We've worked out a way for it to happen this year. It's 50-50 either way, it's not going to be one way or the other. I think it's an awesome thing riding for your country on the track, but you've still got to have a day job as well.''
It's all a far cry from the situation Scully found himself in four years ago as he lay in an Irish hospital contemplating a race injury which threatened his career.
Scully badly injured his leg after colliding with a power pole at more than 60kmh during the Tour of Ireland, dashing his hopes of riding at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
It's been a tough road back for him, including being dropped from the Garmin professional team just as his road career looked to be taking off.
But support from the likes of his Invercargill-based coach Jerard Stock and 1998 Commonwealth Games points race gold medallist Glen Thomson had encouraged him.
Scully often stays in a room above Thomson's Invercargill bike shop when he's training in the city.
Greg Henderson, arguably New Zealand's most successful rider across the road and track, has been an adviser this season and was an excited spectator.
''You beauty mate. Tom Scully. Gold!!!,'' Henderson tweeted.
Meanwhile, bronze medallist Gate, whose parents Murray and Annette had flown to Scotland to watch him race, had grown up watching the Commonwealth Games and was proud to emulate the feats of some of his heroes, including Greg Henderson.
''Watching 'Hendy' race the Commonwealth Games and all the other cyclists that have been before me. It's always something that I enjoyed watching on telly and probably one of the things I'd always try to stay up to watch when I was a kid.
"To be doing it myself now is pretty cool and I hope it inspires other people to get out there and do the same thing.''