Published Wednesday 08 August 2012

Manawatu cyclist Simon van Velthooven won a cycling bronze medal today in the most thrilling manner.
Riding in the keirin, van Velthooven found himself in exalted company, his opposition including British cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy.
But the New Zealand camp rated van Velthooven a good medal chance. He’d finished third in the event at the world champs, before being demoted to sixth after an appeal for a riding infraction.
The 23-year-old had looked good in his rides earlier in the day, finishing in the first two (behind Hoy) in his heat to qualify for the second round, and then placing second in that race to book himself a spot in the final.
The final was dominated by the powerful Hoy, who won his sixth Olympic gold medal, but van Velthooven surged through late to get among the medals.
German Max Levy was a clear second, but it was impossible to separate van Velthooven and Teun Mulder of The Netherlands for third.
Initially it seemed the New Zealander had been given the nod, but after a five-minute wait while the photo finish was analysed, it was announced that the riders had the same time down to the thousandth of a second and that two bronze medals would be awarded.
Van Velthooven said afterwards that in his peripheral vision he thought he might have just shaded it, but he was far from sure and as he said: “I’m glad they awarded two medals. I’d hate to have been given fourth.”
The Manawatu man said it was an honour to be racing against Hoy. “He’s a legend – all the guys out there were legends I was looking up to last year. It’s amazing to think I’ve ridden against them and won a medal.”
The race, which culminated a superb track cycling meeting dominated by the powerful British squad, was watched by several dignitaries, including Princess Anne, Prince Harry and Lord Sebastian Coe.
Earlier New Zealander Joanne Kiesanowski finished a competitive seventh in the women’s omnium.
Kiesanowski began the second day of the six-event competition in 11th place, but improved markedly.
She was 11th in the individual pursuit, with a time of 3min 44.971s and was seventh in the scratch race. In the final event, the 500m time trial, she finished in 49.504s to secure seventh place overall, out of 18 competitors.