Derby-based cyclist Charlie Tanfield struck gold on the Gold Coast with victory for England in the Men’s 4000 metre Individual Pursuit. Charlie beat Scotland’s John Archibald in the gold medal race at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
The pair both ride for Team KGF whose home is the velodrome at Derby Arena. Taking the top two steps of the podium at the Commonwealth Games is an outstanding achievement for Team KGF who only launched in September of last year.
Archibald, older brother to Olympic champion Katie Archibald, broke the Games Record when he posted 4 minutes 13.068 seconds in qualifying. Tanfield then took nearly two seconds off that posting 4 minutes 11.455 seconds to set up an all-Team KGF final. He even did that without the slipstream advantage of catching his opponent in his heat, which many of his rivals had done. A third Team KGF rider, Dan Bigham, was classified sixth.
Tanfield made a typically strong start and quickly established a lead over Archibald. The lead rose to 1.7 seconds at one point before Archibald narrowed the gap towards the end. Tanfield’s victory was never in doubt, though, and there were scenes of delight as he crossed the track to embrace his mum Clare.
“I saw all my main rivals got catches in their qualifiers and that helps a lot, maybe a second and a half. I knew coming into it I wouldn’t get a catch so I was just going to have to go full gas. That was the outcome, so I was so happy with it,” he said.
“It all depends on the conditions, it’s so hard to estimate what splits you want to do to hold on to the finish. In qualifying I definitely got it right but in the final I almost paid the price for a bit of a juicy start. But I managed to get to the end and get the gold and that’s the main thing.”
He added: “The last year has been exciting – to get a medal is awesome and the ultimate goal is the Olympics, that’s the only one up from this.
“I guess people will know who I am now and I’m enjoying my time. What others think of me, doesn’t really change my way of doing things.”
It has been a whirlwind few months for Derby engineering student Tanfield. Gold medals in the individual and team pursuit at the World Cup event in Minsk, with Team KGF, prompted British Cycling to take notice and he and Dan Bigham became the first cyclists, outside of the Team GB system, to gain representative honours for 10 years. Tanfield became a World Champion at the Track World Championships in Apeldoorn as one of the victorious Team Pursuit riders.
Charlie Tanfield (left) with silver medal winning team mates Ethan Hayter, Ollie Wood and Kian Emadi
Tanfield also claimed a Commonwealth Games silver medal, the previous day, in the 4000 metres Team Pursuit. Team England held their own through the first half of their gold medal race against the host, Australia, but the home team had targeted victory in this event and went on to break the World Record.
This success comes just three years after to opening of the velodrome at Derby Arena. Local World Masters Champion Geoff Cooke was thrilled that Derby should have such a fantastic facility and commented “I expect to see champions come off these boards.”
He did not have long to wait!