Southland sprinter Eddie Dawkins believes the New Zealand sprint programme has earned respect from the sport’s superpowers at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne.
The 22 year old became the first New Zealander under the 10 second barrier that belongs to a handful of the world’s best in the men’s sprint clocking 9.963s.
His teammates Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster almost created the biggest of upsets in the first elimination round when both were centimetres from toppling the British superstars Sir Chris Hoy, triple gold medallist in 2008, and Beijing silver medallist Jason Kenny respectively.
This came the day after teammate Simon van Velthooven won New Zealand’s third only medal in a sprint event at the world championships.
Meanwhile Timaru’s Shane Archbold produced a solid second day to finish fifth overall in the men’s omnium, while Christchurch’s Jo Kiesanowski lies in eighth place after the first day of the women’s omnium.
Dawkins said he was thrilled with the day for him and the sprint team.
“I was just astounded. I still haven’t come to terms with it,” Dawkins said. “I looked up at the board and saw Matt Archibald had gone 10.0, the first kiwi to do that and it fired me up. I just ripped it and I am over the moon."
“I did not know I had it in me. Maybe my coaches did. In training it has been a little bit slower but on the day it was all about preparation and execution.”
Dawkins was the only New Zealander of the four who qualified to progress to the second round but was pipped by Kenny.
He missed out on a quarterfinal berth in the repechage to Hoy, who went on to move into tomorrow’s semifinals.
It has been new territory for Dawkins.
“In the past we have qualified quite low and got guys much faster than us. Here we have been up with them and now we have to learn the art of how to ride the match races.
“They are two different sports. It’s like comparing dragsters to rally cars.”
Dawkins said he is proud of his sprint teammates as the five strong group chase three places in the team sprint for London.
“I wouldn’t want to be the selectors picking the sprint team to go to the Games. It has been turned on its head this week. We did an amazing time in the team sprint, got our first medal at a world champs with Simon who was unreal, and today three out of four rode personal bests.
“We’ve come from a national of endurance riders to a nation of sprinters.”
Earlier Mitchell got the crowd pumping when he surprised Hoy with three laps remaining and it took all of the great man’s reserves to haul in the kiwi 10m from the line.
Webster stood up Kenny by 10m going into the final lap but closed strongly around the final bend, with a photo finish required to separate the pair by the width of a tyre.
“He’s the Olympic champion so I had to go out and take it to him,” said Mitchell. “I had to show him that I was there to win. It came off pretty well but I tied up in the last 30m and didn’t quite have the legs.
“To go out there and ride the Olympic champion so close, I am just stoked. He came over to congratulate me after which was great that he showed me that amount of respect.”
Fellow Invercargill rider Matt Archibald also qualified in 10.034s, with he, Mitchell and Dawkins all establishing significant personal best times.
Meanwhile Timaru’s Archbold recovered from a mediocre individual pursuit with excellent third place in the scratch race and fifth in the 1000m time trial to finish an respectable fifth overall in the gruelling two-day omnium.
“The points race is not one of my strengths and the pursuit was not up to my best so I know that I have some work-ons,” Archbold said. “I was really pleased with the scratch race tonight especially as I was the rider initiating the attacks.
“Overall to be top five in the world is not to be sneezed at. I know I was second last year but in Olympic year the quality of the competition was much tougher.
“I’ve had four crashes this year alone and so anyone of them could have set me back, then again my crash three weeks ago might have been good in that I had three or four days off to freshen up.
“Overall I am happy with where I am at. I know there are things still to improve on and so I think a medal is within reach for London.”
Christchurch’s Jo Kiesanowski is in eighth place after the first day of the women’s omnium following 16th in the flying lap in 14.940, and strong sixth placings in the points race and elimination.
Men’s 200m sprint, qualifying: Gregory Bauge (FRA) 9.854, 1; Robert Foerstemann (GER) 9.873, 2; Kevin Sireau (FRA) 9.893, 3; Chris Hoy (GBR) 9.902, 4; Matthew Glaetzer (AUS) 9.902, 5. Also New Zealanders: Eddie Dawkins 9.963, 7; Matt Archibald 10.034, 12; Sam Webster 10.122, 19; Ethan Mitchell 10.163, 21 (all qualified).
First round: Hoy bt Mitchell, Jason Kenny (GBR) bt Webster, Dawkins bt Michael Blatchford (USA), Scott Sunderland (AUS) bt Archibald.
Quarterfinals: Bauge bt Sunderland, Foerstemann bt Seiichiroi Nakagawa (JPN), Sireau bt Stefan
Repechage 1: Hoy 1, Sunderland 2, Dawkins 3. Repechage 2: Stefan Boetticher (GER) 1, Glaetzer 2, Nakagawa 3.
Men’s omnium, 4000m individual pursuit: Lasse Hansen (DEN) 4:22.330, 1; Zach Bell (CAN) 4:26.786, 2; Ed Clancy (GBR) 4:27.643, 3. Also: Shane Archbold (NZL) 4:29.248, 7.
Scratch race 15km: Hansen 1, Bell 2, Archbold 3.
1000m time trial: Clancy 1:01948, 1; O’Shea 1:03.042, 2; Hansen 1:03.102, 3. Also: Archbold 1:03.373, 5.
Final points: O’Shea 22, 1; Bell 28, 2; Hansen and Clancy 29, equal 3 (Hansen takes bronze). Also: Archbold 38, 5.
Women’s omnium, flying lap: Annette Edmonson (AUS) 14.377, 1; Laura Trott (GBR) 14.391, 2; Li Huang (CHN) 14.427, 3. Also: Jo Kiesanowski (NZL) 14.931, 16.
Points race: Lisa Brennauer (GER) 23 points, 1; Jarmilla Machacova (CZE) 22, 2; Angie Gonzalez Garcia 21, 3. Also: Kiesanowski 10, 6.
Elimination: Also: Trott 1, Evgenia Romanyuta (RUS) 2, Malgorzata Wojtyra (POL) 3. Also: Kiesanowski 6.
Points after three rounds: Edmondson and Trott, 11, equal 1; Sarah Hammer (USA) and Tara Whitton (CAN) 24, equal 3. Also: Kiesanowski 28, 8.
Women’s 10km scratch race: Katarzyna (POL) 1, Melissa Hoskins (AUS) 2, Kelly Druyts (BEL) 3. Also: Gemma Dudley (NZL) 14.