All that glitters was not gold for the New Zealand cycling team, who made strong gains this week despite playing second fiddle to the Australians on the final night of the UCI Oceania Track Cycling Championships at Invercargill.
The Australians took out the sprint and omnium titles in both men and women on the last night in the championship at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome that offered ranking points for the world championships and points towards the 2016 Rio Olympics.
New Zealand coach Dayle Cheatley said he was pleased with the gains made this week following the first international meet at the UCI World Cup in Manchester. He believes there is an improved platform to build towards the second World Cup in Mexico in two weeks time.
“We came in here to achieve titles to take us directly through to the world championships and we achieved a number of those. We also won some silvers, but those seconds and thirds still provide us with valuable UCI qualification points for next year’s world championships and world cups,” New Zealand head coach Dayle Cheatley said.
“We can take a lot out of the improvement in all of the targeted Olympic timed events for the endurance men – the team pursuit and team sprint. We still have a lot to work on but it was good improvement.
“The women’s endurance group were stellar here. They have really stood up, they have worked hard throughout the year and it is paying dividends.
“The men’s sprint programme, especially from Eddie Dawkins, Matt Archibald and Simon van Velthooven in the kilo, was world class. They are an experienced group who are continuing to improve.”
Australia’s Anna Meares, the 10 time world champion and current Olympic sprint gold medallist, was in stunning form to win all elimination rounds of the women’s sprint without blemish, to go with victories in the 500m time trial and keirin earlier in the week.
She accounted for fellow Australian Stephanie Morton in the final after the paralympic gold medallist, as a tandem pilot, beat off the challenge from young New Zealander Stephanie McKenzie in two straight rides in the semifinal. Earlier Meares had topped the qualifiers in 11.011, the fastest time recorded in New Zealand.
It was the same for compatriot and Olympic bronze medallist Annette Edmondson from Australia who took out all six disciplines for a perfect record in the women’s keirin.
Today she won the 3000m individual pursuit in 3:40.220 to pip New Zealand’s Jaime Nielsen by 0.1 seconds, dominated the women’s scratch race and held out Nielsen in the 500m time trial.
Edmondson then returned to the track to dominate the women’s points race.
Dawkins and Australian sprinter Matthew Glaetzer had a huge battle in the men’s sprints, after the Australian edged the big Southlander by fractions in the keirin final yesterday.
Today they went to a decided third race in the sprint final, where Dawkins pushed furiously to pull back an early Glaetzer sprint. A photo finish showed the New Zealander came up short by 3/1000th of a second.
In the morning Dawkins broke his own national record clocking 9.907 seconds before Glaetzer went even faster, timed at a stunning 9.828s to set the fastest sea level time ever by an Australian.
It also proved a breakthrough effort from Southland’s Archibald, who took the bronze over Australian Mitchell Bullen who was relegated in the decider for not holding his line in the final sprint.
It was not such good news for Kiwi world omnium champion Aaron Gate, who had to be content with second place behind Australia’s Luke Davison.
After clawing his way to victory in the UCI Tier One Olympic qualifying event last weekend, a second omnium in a week proved telling for Gate, with the fresh Davison riding with real intelligence today.
Davison, who has recently returned to the sport and the track after two years out of the sport, was second to Gate in the individual pursuit, won the scratch race despite Gate’s attacks and was second fastest behind an impressive Dylan Kennett in the 1000m time trial to secure overall honours.
Omnium, 4000m individual pursuit: Aaron Gate 4:25.836, 1; Luke Davison (AUS) 4:27,332, 2; Tirian McManus (AUS) 4:28.464, 3.
Scratch race 10km: Davison 1, Gate 2, McManus 3.
1000m time trial: Dylan Kennett (NZL) 1:02.715, 1; Davison 1:03.456, 2; Shane Archbold 9NZL) 1:04.087, 3.
Total points: Davison 12 points, 1; Gate 16, 2; Kennett 29, 3; Archbold 29, 4 (on countback).
Sprint, qualifying: Matthew Glaetzer (AUS) 9.828, 1; Eddie Dawkins (NZL) 9.907, 2; Matt Archibald (NZL) 10.045, 3.
Quarterfinals: Glaetzer bt Jacob Schmid (AUS) 2-0; Dawkins bt Nathan Hart (AUS) 2-0; Archibald bt Sam Webster (NZL) 2-0; Mitchell Bullen (AUS) bt Dan Ellis (AUS) 2-0.
Semifinals: Glaetzer bt Bullen 2-0; Dawkins bt Archibald 2-0.
Third-fourth: Archibald bt Bullen 2-1; Final: Glaetzer bt Dawkins 2-1.
Madison 40km: Australia (M Scotson, J Harrison) 27 points, 1; Reiker (S Archbold, P Bulling) NZL 26, 2; New Zealand (A Gate, M Ryan) 18, 3.
Omnium, 3000m individual pursuit: Annette Edmondson (AUS) 3:40.220, 1; Jaime Nielsen (NZL) 3:40.334, 2; Lauren Ellis (NZL) 3:42.052, 3.
Scratch Race, 10km: Edmondson 1, Georgia Baker (AUS) 2, Ellis 3.
500m time trial: Edmondson 36.124, 1; Nielsen 36.932, 2; Ellis 37.393, 3.
Total points: Edmondson 6 points, 1; Nielsen 16, 2; Ellis 19, 3.
Sprint, qualifying: Anna Meares (AUS) 11.011, 1; Stephanie Morton (AUS) 11.084, 2; Taylah Jennings (AUS) 11.413, 3.
Quarterfinals: Meares bt Catherine Culvenor (AUS) 2-0, Morton bt Rikki Belder (AUS) 2-0, Stephanie McKenzie (NZL) bt Jennings 2-0, Kaarle McCulloch (AUS) bt Brenna Hargrave (AUS) 2-1.
Semifinals: Meares bt McCulloch 2-0, Morton bt McKenzie 2-0.
Third-fourth: McCulloch bt McKenzie 2-0; Final: Meares bt Morton 2-0.
Points Race, 20km: Annette Edmondson (AUS) 25 points, 1; Sophie Williamson (NZL0 21, 2; Lauren Ellis (NZL) 16, 3.
Women Keirin Final: Olivia Podmore (NZL) 1; Kate Stewart (NZL) 2, Laura Heywood (NZL) 3.
Men Keirin Final: Max Housden (AUS) 1, Quinn Karwowski (NZL) 2, Jordan Castle (NZL) 3.
Men Keirin 7-12: Matthew Holmes (AUS) 1, Reon Sheath (NZL) 2, Alexander Porter (AUS) 3.