Cycling New Zealand believes their riders are well placed to push on to success in next year’s Rio Olympics and world championship.
The team won thre medals at the first-ever UCI Track Cycling World Cup in New Zealand, hosting nearly 5000 people to a sold-out Avantidrome over the last three days.
Buoyed with the support of the home crowd, New Zealand won silver medals in the key Olympic events of the men’s team pursuit, and men’s team sprint and bronze in the women’s team pursuit, along with fourth place in the men’s sprint to Eddie Dawkins.
Cycling New Zealand High Performance Director Mark Elliott said he is satisfied that the team is well placed as a stepping stone towards next year.
“We’re not usually winning medals at world cups at this time of year, so to do it now - obviously a home track has been an advantage – has got us in the right position for where we need to be for next year.
“Certainly a lot of our athletes are ahead of the game compared to this time last year,” said Elliott who said many of the European riders have come off the back of a racing season while the New Zealanders are just starting.
“We’ve been working on some key things [in training] and those things will play big for us next year in March [World Championships] and beyond.”
Best performed of the New Zealand riders today was sprinter Eddie Dawkins who finished third in the men’s sprint.
He was one of eight riders to go under the magical 10 second barrier in the morning qualifying, clocking 9.934, with teammate Sam Webster also through with a 10.081 effort.
Webster accounted for German star Robert Forstermann and China’s Saifei Bao in the opening two rounds of match racing, while Dawkins dominated Ireland’s Eoin Mullen in the first round and China’s Chao Xu. However the pair were then drawn in the quarterfinal with Dawkins prevailing in two dramatically close rides to progress.
He was unable to match Commonwealth Games Keirin gold medallist Matt Glaetzer (AUS), going down in two straight rides in the semifinals and was pipped by German star Maximilian Levy in the deciding ride for bronze.
Webster finished eighth overall, while Glaetzer went on to claim his first World Cup sprint success in two straight rides over German 22 year old Max Niederlag.
“It’s good to race in front of the home crowd but the world championships is where we will make our make before we head to Rio,” said Dawkins.
“It is back to the hard work for us and get ready for the world championships.”
Sprint coach Anthony Peden was also satisfied with the performance.
“I am happy with what the sprint team has achieved this week. Obviously we strive to be on the top step every time we go out. This was not a major target for us although we knew we would get a lift from the home crowd and we wanted to perform,” Peden said.
Natasha Hansen produced an outstanding ride to win her repechage in the keirin but despite a strong push around the outside, could not qualify to the final, eventually finishing 16th.
Two young riders showed their potential for New Zealand in the gruelling six-discipline omnium.
Southland teenager Nick Kergozou gave a hint of his undoubted class to finish an outstanding seventh in the men’s omnium. He enjoyed a superb second day to win both the 1000m time trial and flying lap and finished 13th in the 40km points race for his best international performance at this level.
The event was won brilliantly by London Olympic champion Lasse Norman Hansen, who dominated the points race to win overall in his return to the track.
South Canterbury’s Holly Edmondston, who turned 20 on Saturday, finished 18th in the women’s omnium in her first season as a World Cup rider in the sport’s toughest test over six disciplines., today finishing 14th in the 500m time trial, 20th in the flying lap and 19th in the points race.
Canada’s Alison Beveridge, in just her second World Cup start in the omnium, edged out Australian world champion Annette Edmondson for the overall honours.
New Zealand will now take stock before deciding their team for the final World Cup in Hong Kong and prepare towards the world championships in March next year in London.
Results day 3:
Men’s sprint qualifying: Matthew Glaetzer (JAY) 9.698, 1; Max Niederlag (GER) 9.715, 2; Damian Zielinski (POL) 9.896, 3; Edward Dawkins (NZL) 9.934, 4; Lewis Olivia (GBR) 9.946, 5; Maximilian Levy (ERD) 9.958, 6; Pavel Kelemen (CZE) 9.960, 7; Robert Forstemann (TTB) 9.997, 8; and Sam Webster (NZL) 10.081, 17.
Gold medal ride: Glaetzer 1; Niederlag 2. Bronze medal ride: Levy 3; Dawkins 4. Also: Zielinski 5, Njisane Phillip (TTO) 6; Patrick Constable (AUS) 7; Webster 8.
Women’s Keirin: Shuang Guo (MSP) 1; Anna Meares (AUS) 2; Monique Sullivan (CAN) 3; Liubov Basova (UKR) 4; Wai Sze Lee (HKG) 5; Hyejin Lee (KOR) 6; Kristina Vogel (GER) 7; Tianshi Zhong (CHN) 8; Also: Natasha Hansen (NZL) 12.
Time trial: Annette Edmonson (AUS) 1; Jennifer Valente (USA) 2; Allison Beveridge (CAN) 3. Flying lap: Beveridge 13.932, 1; Edmonson 13.937, 2; Valente 14.188, 3. Points Race: Jolien D’Hoore (BEL) 28 points, 1; Kirsten Wild (NED) 26, 2; Valente and Beveridge 23, equal 3.
Overall: Beveridge 1; Edmondson 2; D’Hoore 3; Also: Holly Edmondston (NZL) 18.
Time trial: Nicholas Kergozou (NZL) 1:02.559, 1; Glenn O’Shea (AUS) 1:03.174, 2; Lucas Liss (GER) 1:03.232, 3. Flying lap: Kergozou 12.829, 1; Sang-Hoon Park (KOR) 13.008, 2; O’Shea 13.151, 3. Points race: Norman Lasse Hansen (DEN) 52 points, 1; Christopher Latham (GBR) 34, 2; Kenny De Ketele (BEL) and Juan Esteban Arango Carvajal (COL) 31, equal 3.
Overall: Hansen 208 points, 1; Latham 188, 2; O’Shea 165, 3; Also: Kergozou 142, 7.
CAPTION: Eddie Dawkins in action on the final day of the UCI Track World Cup in Cambridge.
Photo courtesy: Dianne Manson
NOTE: Individual Summaries of each qualifying performance, flash quotes, results and images