Tokyo Olympics 2020: Jack Carlin survives crashes in keirin to win through to quarter-finals
The Scot has a shot at a third medal on his Games debut having taken team sprint silver and individual bronze.
Carlin’s campaign in the keirin - a sprint discipline invented in Japan involving a motorised pacer bike at the front of the field - began in dramatic fashion.
In the opening heat, Carlin’s elbow was clipped by Dutchman Matthijs Buchli which caused him to then bring down Malaysia’s Muhammad Sahrom and Australia’s Matt Richardson.
“Keirin is like that, there have been a lot of crashes and a lot of close calls today," said Carlin, who watched Team GB team-mate Katy Marchant crash out of the keirin on Friday.
“I think everyone is basically doing whatever it takes to get through and it's dangerous. You saw that with Katy the other day.
“It's been absolutely manic; I just hope it calms down tomorrow to be honest with you.”
A long adjudication led to the four riders who finished and didn’t qualify or fall - including Carlin - having to ride again for two spots in the quarterfinals a few minutes later.
“It's not ideal.” said the 24-year-old. “I don't understand why they blew the gun to be honest with you, I've never had that in a keirin race before even with crashes.
“To put us back up at the end was a bit unfair, especially considering the repechages were only 20 minutes later.”
The Paisley cyclist did the necessary in the re-run but not before more crash drama, with Buchli causing Canadian Hugo Barrette to take a heavy fall on the penultimate lap, with the Scot again in the vicinity.
“Fortunately, I got through, but Matthijs was one of the favourites going and he got relegated because, again, the second one was a dangerous move and he's paid the price,” he said.
“It was a quick turnaround; it will be absolutely fine tomorrow. You just have to rest up and get a good night's sleep.”
Carlin is taking on the event alongside Jason Kenny, who became Britain’s most decorated Olympian thanks to team sprint silver but then struggled in the individual event.
The six-time Olympic champion needed the repechage to navigate the first round of the keirin having finished fourth in his heat and proven unable to produce a final burst.
Kenny delivered closer to his best in the repechage, surging away from the field to prevail by 0.363 seconds.
The pair compete in the quarter-finals on Sunday morning with the semi-finals and final following on the same day, the final day of the Games itself.
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