UCI TRACK CYCLING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – DAY 5 WRAP
New Zealand’s Eddie Dawkins has come within a blink of a second gold medal on the final day of the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in London.
Dawkins has won a silver medal in the final of the men’s keirin, after finishing a fraction of a second behind German Joachim Eilers in the final.
It repeated the silver medal he won in the keirin last year and adds to the gold medal he won as part of the team sprint at the London Velodrome.
It completed an excellent final day of competition for the New Zealand team with Natasha Hansen featuring in a breakthrough fifth place in the women’s individual sprint and Webster 10th in the keirin.
The team finished with a gold medal in the team sprint and today’s silver to Dawkins, both Olympic events, which has given real confidence five months out from Rio.
“We came with a target of medals in the individual events and to win the team sprint. We fell a little short in the individual sprint results in the men but very pleased with Natasha’s progress in the last 12 weeks,” said sprint coach Anthony Peden.
“We have to out Eddie’s performance on par with the team sprint. The consistency they have shown, the belief they have to produce at the highest level when they need to in the team sprint, and well Eddie is now doing that in the keirin.
“The confidence we get out of these world championships is great and from a coach’s point of view, I could not be happier.”
Head coach Dayle Cheatley said the competition had been a mixed bag in the showcase disciplines for Rio.
“It has been a case of highs and lows for the programme here in London,” Cheatley said.
“The highs are with the sprint programme producing gold and silver in two Olympic disciplines and Tarsh Hansen putting herself right up there to be a medal contender come Rio.
“The women’s endurance team were fantastic and made a big step up to put them in a position to also contest for medals in Rio.
“However the men’s endurance was a disappointment this week across the board in both the team pursuit and omnium. The programme is not broken it just needs some tweaks and they will be back on song for Rio.”
Dawkins was impressive in the keirin competition today, qualifying with a second place in the first round, and then second behind German Joachim Eilers, who won the world cup competition in Cambridge in December.
The burly Southlander put himself into excellent position in the final but came up an agonising 2/100ths of a second short of overtaking Eilers on the line for the victory.
Teammate Sam Webster finished 10th after winning his first round but missing out in the semifinal.
Earlier Hansen was outstanding in the women’s sprint. She could not overcome seven-time world champion and current Olympic sprint champion Kristina Vogel in the quarterfinal. However she then won the ride-off for fifth to eighth placing for her highest ever placing at world level, after also qualifying sixth fastest.
Lauren Ellis finished the women’s omnium competition with a stunning performance in the final event, the points race.
The Mid-South Canterbury rider won the points race, after lapping the field on a remarkable three occasions, which saw her jump to eighth place overall in the six-discipline event. Earlier she was 13th fastest in the 500m time trial and 10th in the flying lap.
Piet Bulling and Luke Mudgway finished 11th in the arduous and spectacular Madison competition won by British stars Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.
CAPTION: Natasha Hansen wins her 5th-8th place ride-off;
Photo courtesy Guy Swarbrick.