Australian track cycling hit with equipment drama at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Australian cycling governing body AusCycling has been forced to remove the handlebars from its track bikes used in the 1,000m time trial at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games due to their dangerousness.

That didn’t stop the trio of Australian riders as Matt Glaetzer roared to a stunning gold medal, beating fellow Australian Tom Cornish by more than half a second to take silver.

It was Glaezer’s fifth gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

Matt Richardson finished fourth behind bronze medalist Nicholas Paul of Trinidad and Tobago.

The performance of the Australians was all the more remarkable as all three rode on a theoretically slower set-up than their competitors.

In a statement released hours before the start of the event, AusCycling said the chase bars used in Monday’s 1,000m time trial “cannot be used safely” and that chase bars fall would be used instead.

The statement said the drop bars would be “slightly slower” but would “tolerate the loads generated during competition”.

“We recognize that this decision has created some disappointment,” said AusCycling performance manager Jesse Korf.

“But the riders and the wider team understand that safety is our top priority.”

The drop bars are the same setup riders use in power-based sprint events and are positioned either side of and slightly below the handlebars.

Riders are not in as aerodynamic a position as they would be if using chase bars.

Chase bars are centrally positioned and allow the rider to sit with their arms stretched out in front of them, as is the case in track endurance events.

James Moriarty at pursuit bars
James Moriarty models the pursuit bars in the men’s 4000m individual pursuit earlier in the competition.(Getty Images: John Walton/PA Images)

AusCycling came under fire during the delayed 2020 Olympics in Tokyo when Alex Porter’s handlebars failed spectacularly in qualifying for the team pursuit.

Porter was going 65 kilometers per hour when his handlebars suffered catastrophic failure. He then suffered painful facial injuries after crashing face down on the track.

A report by AusCycling released after the Tokyo Games found that inadequate governance was partly to blame for the failure, with bespoke pursuit handlebars not being sufficiently tested before use.

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