New Zealand track cyclist Simon van Velthooven had to endure an excruciating wait before officials finally awarded him a bronze medal in the keirin cycling final this morning at the London Olympic velodrome.
The Palmerston North rider was trapped on the outside of the six-man field as they hurtled towards the finish line and seemed to have dipped out to flying Dutchman Teun Mulder on the inside. British legend Sir Christopher Hoy clearly took the gold medal and German Max Levy the silver.
But after several moments examining the photo finish, officials first proclaimed the Kiwi as bronze medallist and eventually announced a joint-third placing with Mulder. The photo was inclusive, with van Velthooven obscured outside Levy, but judging from the back wheel, there didn't seem to be anything between the two racers.
The result is payback for van Velthooven, who missed out on a keirin bronze medal at this year's world championships in Melbourne when he was inexplicably relegated by the commissairs. This time, they gave him the benefit of the doubt.
The medal is New Zealand's ninth at London, following three golds to our rowers, a silver to shot putter Val Adams, and bronzes to the equestrian eventing team, team pursuit cyclists and two further rowing crews.
Van Velthooven had raced impresively all day to qualify for the keirin final. Racing in the first of three heats, he finished a close second to Hoy, but well clear of the rest of the field to avoiding the need for a repechage.
In the semifinal, he seemed badly placed at the back of the field with a lap remaining, but came storming round the outside for second behind Levy. Hoy won the other semifinal to confirm his favouritism.