The rainbow race suits of New Zealand’s world champion team sprinters had their first airing on the final morning session at the BikeNZ Track Cycling National Championships in Cambridge today.
Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell, riding for Auckland, and Eddie Dawkins for Southland, competed in the qualifying in the team sprint – they can wear the rainbow uniform of world champions every time they compete in this discipline for the next 12 months.
It was the Southland combination of Dawkins, Matt Archibald and Jeremy Presbury who set the fastest time of 44.906s with the Auckland trio of Webster, Mitchell and Zac Williams clocking 45.379s.
The two combinations will clash again in tonight’s gold medal ride.
Defending champion Natasha Hansen with Stephanie McKenzie (Southland) were within half a second of the New Zealand record in topping qualifiers in the women’s team sprint, clocking 34.584. They meet Waikato Bay of Plenty in the final with McKenzie chasing her fourth national title of the championship.
Southland topped qualifiers in the under-19 men’s team sprint in 48.095 and meet East Coast North Island in tonight’s gold medal ride.
The talented Canterbury pairing of Holly Edmondson and Olivia Podmore were fastest in the under-19 sprint in 37.242s with Podmore chasing her fifth national title tonight when they meet West Coast North Island in the final.
Meanwhile Waikato Bay of Plenty, bolstered with the Olympic pair of Jaime Nielsen and Rushlee Buchanan, set the fastest time in the women’s 4000m team pursuit, the first time that female riders have competed over the longer distance of 4kms with four riders, like the men.
They clocked 4:40.527 and will meet Southland in tonight’s gold medal ride, while Auckland take on a composite combination, including Auckland’s Georgia Williams, for the bronze medal.
In the open men, Mid-South Canterbury topped qualifiers in the 4000m team pursuit in 4:17.613, with internationals Dylan Kennett and Shane Archbold providing the grunt. They will meet Southland in the final.