Date: Thursday, 01 September 2016

New Zealand cyclist Pieter Bulling is aiming for redemption at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 23-year-old Southland cyclist has unfinished business after the men's team pursuit combination missed out on the medals in Rio.

The Kiwi squad of Bulling, Aaron Gate, Dylan Kennett, Regan Gough and Hayden Roulston fell short in their bid for the podium, finishing fourth.

New Zealand were never in the bronze medal ride, finishing 2.964sec behind Denmark who clocked 3min 53.789s.

"I was disappointed with how we went, I was expecting a medal and we should have got a medal," Bulling said.

The team were capable of riding fast enough to race for gold in the final, but ended up losing to Denmark in the bronze medal race.

"The time we rode two weeks before in training would have got us into that gold and silver medal ride off," he said.

"But some stuff didn't go to plan leading into it and during the racing, so it was a bit of a disappointment for me and a few of the other guys in the team."

"You can't think about it too much now, we sort of have to go forward and work forward from there, so that is what we will do."

Bulling thrived on the experience of attending an Olympic Games and now has his sights firmly set on Tokyo in 2020.

"It was great, it had been a long time coming it had been four years and to finally get there was cool," he said.

"It was an eye opener and it has definitely made me hungry to get there in four years in Tokyo."

The Cambridge-based rider enjoyed being part of the New Zealand team and watching events from the Kiwi village.

"It was hard to go out and get to the other events, so we watched them on the big screens in the Kiwi village and that was cool being around the other Kiwi athletes," he said. 

"Seeing all the Kiwis go so well, watching all the different events and seeing athletes that you always just see on TV and then you see them in person was pretty cool."

He did get a chance to watch his teammates Eddie Dawkins, Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell claim a silver medal in the men's sprint team at the velodrome.

"That was awesome and really good to see," he said.

Despite the distractions, the former Southland Boys' High School student had no problems focusing on his event.

"I was focused the whole time, when you put so much work and effort into an event like that at the Olympic Games, all you are really thinking about is the race," he said.

"Definitely post racing that is when you start getting distracted by a lot of things over in the village, the different events and people."

"But leading into the racing, all you're thinking about is the racing and doing everything possible to get ready for that."

Bulling will get back into the saddle shortly after a well-earned rest in the South Island.

He is hopeful of attending the Oceania Championships in Australia and the NZ National Track Cycling Championships in Invercargill this summer, before the World Championships in 2017, as he aims for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the 2020 Olympics.

"Tokyo is the biggest goal and then there's the Commonwealth Games two years from now on the Gold Coast," he said.

"That is going to be great, so I am looking forward to that, the immediate goal will be the Commonwealth Games and that will be a build up to Tokyo."

 Photo and article courtesy Stuff


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