Shane Archbold says a poor points race on day one cost him more dearly than his freakish puncture as he finished seventh in the Olympic omnium.
The Timaru rider arrived in London with high hopes after a fifth placing at the world championships in April, but a 15th in the points race, then a flat rear tyre halfway through his individual pursuit finished his medal hopes at the Olympic velodrome. He'd started in encouraging fashion with a second placing in the flying lap.
He finished on 48 points, 18 off the bronze medal which was won by Great Britain's Ed Clancy. Denmark's Lasse Norman Hansen won the gold by two points from Frenchman Bryan Coquard, with Australia's world champion Glenn O'Shea fifth.
"Five minutes ago I was eighth [before the 1km time trial] so you can't complain with seventh. Forty-eight hours ago I'd have liked to win a medal but that's the way the omnium pans out. That's the closest omnium I've ever seen and I've been doing them for two-and-a-half years straight," he said.
"It's the Olympics; everyone's lifted their game and there's a lot of PBs. I didn't ride any PBs; I was stronger in every event. I'm definitely not disappointed with seventh but I know I can do better."
Archbold began the second day of the six-event omnium in seventh place, nine points off the bronze medal spot, after he barely featured in his weakest discipline, the 30km points race.
He needed a strong start in the pursuit and was on pace for a personal best 4min 23sec when disaster struck at the 2km mark. His back tyre blew out, forcing him off the track and pleading for a re-ride. Archbold was granted one, but had only 30min to prepare and his lack of petrol showed as he rode 4.26.581, sixth fastest. A PB would have ranked him third.
"It didn't affect me at all. People will be saying back home 'he punctured', but I put myself on the back foot yesterday and the puncture didn't help. If I could have got off to a good start today I could have worked on it and ridden myself into bronze but all I did was work my way backwards.
"The thing that annoyed me about the puncture is I know I could have had a good time, potentially a PB, which at an Olympics was awesome. Yesterday's racing was so much harder than I've ever done before."
Things didn't improve when Archbold was lapped in the 15km scratch race, along with other top contenders Clancy and O'Shea, having worked hard to try and establish a break. He finished 13th.
"It was purely me trying to put myself into a medal chance. I did everything I could in the first 30 laps to move into the top-three and it didn't pay off."
Archbold, 23, will take a break then decide his future, which could entail a crack at a road career. The omnium won't be contested at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in two years' time so he will consider his options.
The other New Zealander in action, Natasha Hansen, went through six rides in the women's sprint before finishing 12th. The Invercargill air traffic controller qualified ninth-fastest in the 18-strong field and won a repechage to progress. But she lost her first round sprint, and a repechage, then faced a three-woman race for ninth-to-12th spots.
Just 22 and only confirmed in the Olympics earlier this year when New Zealand qualified a sprint spot, Hansen had mixed feelings.
"I'm a bit gutted because you always want to win. Even though I wasn't really in contention to get a medal I still feel disappointed to not be up there. I'll reflect on what I've done and hopefully I won't be too down on myself."
A puncture on the Olympic velodrome dealt a further blow to New Zealander Shane Archbold's medal chances in the men's omnium today.
Archbold was granted a re-ride in his 4km individual pursuit, event four of the omnium, after travelling around 2km in his first ride when disaster struck. He raised his arm and pointed to his flat back tyre then veered off the track. Having used plenty of petrol, he returned 30 minutes later for a re-ride but was never on target for a quick time, recording 4min 26.581sec.
That was 3.5sec off his personal best and ranked him sixth in the IP. He remained seventh overall after four of the six omnium events on 29 points, 10 points off the bronze medal position held by Denmark's Lasse Norman Hansen. World champion Glenn O'Shea (17 points) led after four events, with the 15km scratch race and 1km time trial remaining.
"It's never happened like that. At least I got a re-ride, I was happy about that. There's not much I can do about it. It's never good to do a 2km warmup for a 4km race like that, especially when a I had a flat tyre for five or six laps. It makes it hard," Archbold told Fairfax Media.
He felt he was on track for his personal best of 4.23.072 before the puncture. That would have ranked him third fastest.
"The way I ride, I ride consistent and I build. I rode a 4.26 and I didn't even get a chance to build because I was too flat from having already done an effort. I definitely wouldn't have ridden 4.20 but I would have been low 4.20s. I would have been happy with 4.23."
Meanwhile, New Zealand's Natasha Hansen qualified ninth fastest of 18 riders in the women's sprint. She recorded a time of 11.241sec, a tick outside her personal best of 11.166.
Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton rode an Olympic record 10.724 to qualify fastest ahead of her Australian rival Anna Meares (10.805).
- Fairfax Media