Three-time world championship medallist Simon van Velthooven dug deep to continue his dominance of the men’s 1000m time trial on the opening night of the New Zealand Track National Championships in Cambridge tonight.
The big Manawatu sprinter dominated proceedings to clock 1:01.998 to win the time trial ahead of Mid-South Canterbury teenager Dylan Kennett and Southland’s Cameron Karwowski and continue his reign of the title.
It proved an outstanding day for the 19 year old Kennett, who won the 4000m individual pursuit, coming back from a big early deficit to clock 4:28.757 and beat Taupo’s Patrick Bevin at the new Avantidrome.
Southern sprinters Katie Schofield and Stephanie McKenzie were dominant in the 500m time trial and 250m time trial respectively, while homegrown Jaime Nielsen defended her title in the women’s 3000m individual pursuit.
Van Velthooven, who won the bronze medal in the kilo time trial at Cali two weeks ago, won in 1:01.998 ahead of Kennett in 1:03.557 and Karwowski third in 1:03.668.
He said it has been challenging to get back up for the national championships.
“We are all feeling it a bit, as the worlds were our pinnacle event and most of us have not done much since returning. But this place is great and we want to put on a show for the fans,” Van Velthooven said.
“I was happy with that time for sure. I had nothing left. It was a bit slow tonight with so many time trials but I can promise people that they are going to see some exciting racing in the next three days.”
Schofield, from Otago, defended her 500m title from last year, riding last to clock 35.085s and pip McKenzie by 0.3 seconds. The pair had reversed placings from the 250m time trial earlier in the day won by McKenzie.
Kennett (Waimate) was thrilled with his personal best in qualifying for the individual pursuit and his strong back-up tonight. He returned from a medal-winning performance in the team pursuit at the world championships to immediately race in Australia in an 85km Madison before returning to New Zealand at the weekend.
“Given that build-up I am pretty happy. I had a big PB this morning. Tonight was tough. We were both dying at the end but I was dying a bit less than him,” Kennett said.
“It’s been a big few weeks and it’s great to get my first national title after the world championships.”
Bevin, 22, who returned to the track late last year following three successful years as a professional road rider in USA, produced a strong performance for second place, following on from his World Cup victory with Tom Scully in the Madison in Mexico in January. Former world omnium champion Aaron Gate won the bronze medal.
Nielsen retained her 3000m individual pursuit title in emphatic style clocking 3:36.973 to beat off the challenge from Olympic teammate Lauren Ellis (Mid South Canterbury).
Nielsen was in front from the start, winning by more than two seconds.
“It was quite special tonight. It’s the first time I’ve been able to ride in a big event with my family and friends here to watch which was great,” Nielsen said.
“You never feel good in an individual pursuit, it is more about hurting and keeping to your game plan, and I was pleased with the time and the result.”
Earlier world champion Ethan Mitchell retained his New Zealand crown in the 250m time trial.
Mitchell, part of New Zealand’s successful team sprint at Cali recently, dominated the field to win the 250m standing start time trial, to hold off his BikeNZ High Performance teammates Matt Archibald and Sam Webster in a repeat of last year’s podium.
He clocked 17.54 seconds to win by nearly half a second.
“To be fair this is my race. I am the starter in the team sprint and so I should be the fastest in this. It was a pretty good time and I knew Matt (Archibald) and Sam (Webster) would be firing so I had to focus on a smooth effort.”
Women’s 3000m individual pursuit: Gold medal: Jaime Nielsen (Waikato BOP) 3:36.973, 1; Lauren Ellis (Mid South Canterbury) 3:39.079, 2; Bronze medal: Georgia Williams (Auckland) 3:42.521, 3; Rushlee Buchannan (Waikato BOP) 3:45.159, 4.
Men 4000m individual pursuit: Gold medal: Dylan Kennett (Mid South Canterbury) 4:28.757, 1; Patrick Bevin (Waikato BOP) 4:29.951, 2; Bronze Medal: Aaron Gate (Auckland) 4:27.324, 3; Myron Simpson (Auckland) 4:32.304, 4.
Women 500m time trial: Katie Schofield (Otago) 35.085, 1; Stephanie Mckenzie (Southland) 35.383, 2; Paige Paterson (Auckland) 35.670, 3.
Men 1000m time trial: Simon van Velthooven (WCNI) 1:01.998, 1; Dylan Kennett (Mid South Canterbury) 1:03.557, 2; Cameron Karwowski (Southland) 1:03.668, 3.
Men 250m time trial: Ethan Mitchell (Auckland) 17.547, 1; Matt Archibald (Southland) 18.044, 2; Sam Webster (Auckland) 18.085, 3.
Women 250m time trail: Stephanie McKenzie (Southland) 19.643, 1; Katie Schofield (Otago) 19.720, 2; Paige Paterson (Auckland) 20.167, 3.
Women 500m time trial: Olivia Podmore (Canterbury) 37.692, 1; Kate Stewart (WCNI) 37.734, 2; Bryony Botha (Auckland) 38.126, 3.
Men 1000m time trial: Michael Culling (Southland) 1:05.344, 1; Nicholas Kergozou (Southland) 1:05.730, 2; Jordan Castle (WCNI) 1:06.595, 3.
Men 15km scratch race: Luke Mudgway (ECNI) 1, Jack Ford (Mid South Canterbury) 2, Regan Gough (ECNI) 3.
Men 250m time trial: Lewis Eccles (Waikato BOP) 18.547, 1; Michael Culling (Southland) 18.786, 2; Sam Buckner (Canterbury) 19.165, 3.
CAPTION: Simon van Velthooven in action during the 1000m time trail and Dylan Kennett who won the individual pursuit and was second in the 1000m time trial.
Images courtesy: Dianne Manson