Date: Monday, 22 June 2015
Posted by: Cycling Southland

New Zealand cyclists have continued their strong early season form in USA this week.

The sprinters have continued to shine in their campaign in Pennsylvania, where Eddie Dawkins broke the track record on his win to victory in the UCI Festival of Speed event at Trexlertown.

Dawkins lost his existing track record early in the day when it was lowered to 10.269m for the 200m flying lap qualifying, but the big Southlander grabbed it back when he topped the times with 10.237s on the outdoor track.

He then beat teammate Ethan Mitchell in the quarterfinal before accounting for Canadian champion Hugo Barrette in the semifinal. Meanwhile fellow Kiwi and Commonwealth Games champion Sam Webster had beaten Pan American medallist Njisane Phillip in the quarters and in-form Suriname rider Tjon En Fa Jair in the semi. The Suriname rider had been responsible for clipping Dawkins’ old track record earlier in the day.

Dawkins prevailed in two straight rides in the final over Webster to claim the honours.

London Olympian Natasha Hansen continued her impressive return to the sport, finishing second in the women’s sprint.

She beat off the challenge from Canada’s Kate O’Brien in the semifinal with an excellent ride but lost in two straight rides to world silver medallist Elis Ligtee (NED) in the final.

The squad continues with their training and racing regime in USA before Dawkins, Webster, Mitchell, Simon van Velthooven and Matt Archibald head to Europe for further racing.

Meanwhile, the women’s endurance track team made an immediate impact in their first outing, with Lauren Ellis winning the criterium on the second stage of the Tour of America’s Dairylands near Wisconsin.

Ellis launched a solo attack two laps from the finish of the one hour race, and remained clear to win by six seconds.

The New Zealand women’s squad had only arrived during the week for a block of training and racing in USA to prepare for the summer track season, highlighted by the UCI World Cup in Cambridge in December.

Photo courtesy Guy Swarbrick

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