VANTAGE WINDOW & DOORS NZ TRACK CYCLING CHAMPIONSHIPS – DAY 4 WRAP
The ever-improving depth of talent was on display during four days of action at the Vantage Windows and Doors National Track Cycling Championships in Invercargill.
New Zealand track cycling head coach Dayle Cheatley said he had been impressed with what he’d seen at the SIT Velodrome.
“There’s been some good quality racing, some performances that we expected, but also some from the younger ones who put their hand up for this next Olympic cycle. The nationals have been the opportunity to do that.”
Zac Williams, Callum Saunders and under 19 rider Jackson Ogle put pressure on the established stars of the men’s sprint programme, along with the likes of Jordan Castle and Sam Dakin, Cheatley said.
Two months out from the April world championships in Hong Kong, many of those established stars were progressing well, he said.
“I’m pretty happy with the where the likes of Dylan Kennett are sitting right now; in the sprint Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster have really showed their cards and showed they are on track for the world champs. Jaime Nielsen has done some great rides her also.”
The Olympic trio of Mitchell, Webster and Williams, riding for Auckland, broke the New Zealand championships record set by the world champion combination of Mitchell, Webster and Eddie Dawkins by more than 0.7sec during qualifying.
They were gifted the gold medal when the Waikato/Bay of Plenty combination produced two false starts in the gold medal final and were relegated to silver.
Southland, missing Dawkins from their lineup, still managed to outride West Coast North Island for the bronze medal.
It meant a third gold medal for Webster, following on from victory in the individual sprint and keirin, at his 10th national championships.
Olympic BMX silver medallist Sarah Walker added a national track title to her resume with victory in the women’s 500m team sprint with Waikato/Bay of Plenty teammate Tess Young.
The duo beat their Waikato/Bay of Plenty teammates Racquel Sheath and Nielsen in the gold medal final, with Olivia Podmore and Victoria Steel (Canterbury) winning bronze.
A dominant performance from Waikato/Bay of Plenty’s all-New Zealand combination of Sheath, Rushlee Buchanan, Nielsen and Bryony Botha saw them take out the women’s 4000m team pursuit title when they caught the West Coast North Island combination early in the gold medal final.
Canterbury were too good for Mid-South Canterbury in the bronze medal ride-off.
The Southland foursome of Tom Sexton, Josh Haggerty, Nick Kergozou and Anton O’Connell were never troubled by Canterbury in the men’s 4000m team pursuit final, with West Coast North Island holding off Waikato/Bay of Plenty for bronze.
Following an appeal, the result of the women’s under-19 points race on Saturday night was changed with Georgia Danford (Auckland) promoted from sixth place to first place, with Libby Arbuckle (West Coast North Island) taking silver and Kate Smith (Canterbury) bronze.
The Southland combination of Mitchell Morris, Samuel Miller and Corbin Strong managed to edge out Auckland’s trio of Harry Waine, Aaron Wyllie and Harris Fogelberg for gold in the under 19 men’s 750m team sprint, with Waikato/Bay of Plenty taking bronze.
In the under 19 women’s 500m team sprint, the West Coast North Island duo of Sophie-Leigh Bloxham and Emily Shearman won gold from Waikato/Bay of Plenty, with Southland claiming bronze.
History was made with a 20km women’s Madison raced at the national championships for the first time, with a composite team of Sheath and Palmerston North’s Michaela Drummond winning from Hub Waikato's Phillippa Sutton and Jessie Hodges, with Botha and Holly Edmondston third.
The Waikato/Bay of Plenty pairing of Kennett and Stewart put on an exhibition in the men’s 30km Madison, winning comfortably from Nick Kergozou and Tom Sexton (Southland) and the Southern Hub combination of Joshua Scott and Corbin Strong.
Meanwhile the track cyclists of the year awards were also announced at the championships.
The men’s track cyclist of the year for 2016 is Eddie Dawkins, as a member of the world champion team sprint and Olympic silver medal, while the Southlander also won a silver medal in the keirin at the world championships.
The women’s award went to Mid-Canterbury’s Lauren Ellis who earned two fourth places at the Rio Olympics as a member of the team pursuit and her individual effort in the omnium including that remarkable final points race.
The junior men’s rider of the year is Manawatu’s Campbell Stewart who defended his world title in the omnium and a member of the team pursuit that broke the world record.
The junior women’s award went to Ellesse Andrews, formerly from Wanaka but now based in the Waikato. She was part of the world champion team sprint and won the bronze medal in the individual pursuit at the world championships.
Day 4 results:
4000m team pursuit, qualifying: Waikato BOP 4.25.751, 1; West Coast North Island 4.41.338, 2; Canterbury 4.43.909, 3; Mid-South Canterbury 4.46.163, 4.
Gold medal ride: Waikato BoP (Racquel Sheath, Rushlee Buchanan, Jaimie Nielsen, Bryony Botha) caught West Coast North Island (Michaela Drummond, Emily Shearman, Libby Arbuckle, Megan Gardner). Bronze medal ride: Canterbury, 4.42.158, 3; Mid-South Canterbury, 4.46.191, 4
Team sprint, qualifying: Waikato BoP 2, 35.080, 1; Waikato BoP 1, 35.341, 2; Canterbury, 35.438, 3; Composite 1, 36.350, 4
Gold medal ride: Waikato BoP2 (Sarah Walker and Tess Young) 34.862, 1; Waikato BoP 1 (Racquel Sheath and Jaime Nielsen) 35.326, 2. Bronze medal ride: Canterbury (Olivia Podmore and Victoria Steel) 35.141, 3; Composite 1 (Stephanie McKenzie and Jaymie King) 36.555, 4.
Madison, 20km: Composite: (Racquel Sheath and Michaela Drummond) 1; Hub Waikato (Philippa Sutton and Jessie Hodges) 2; Bandits (Byrony Botha and Holly Edmondston) 3.
Team sprint, qualifying: West Coast North Island 36.402, 1; Waikato BoP 36.840, 2; Southland 36.860, 3; Canterbury 37.460, 4.
Gold medal ride: West Coast North Island 36.360, 1; Waikato BoP 36.734, 2; Bronze medal: Southland 36.846, 3; Canterbury 37.286, 4.
4000m team pursuit, qualifying: Canterbury, 4.11.501, 1; Southland 4.11.590, 2; West Coast North Island 4.13.595, 3; Waikato BOP 4.14.779, 4.
Gold medal ride: Southland (Tom Sexton, Joshua Haggerty, Nick Kergozou, Anton OConnell) 4.07.029, 1; Canterbury (Hugo Jones, Joshua Scott, Max Jones, Matthew Trenchard) 4.09.206, 2; Bronze medal ride: West Coast North Island 4.08.270, 3; Waikato BoP 4.13.730, 4
Team sprint, qualifying: Auckland 43.900, 1; Waikato BoP 45.23, 2; Southland 45.793, 3; West Coast North Island 46.73, 4. Gold medal: Auckland (Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Zac Williams) 44.179, 1; Waikato BoP relegated, 2. Bronze medal: Southland (Fabian Wybrow, Nick Kergozou, Bradly Knipe) 45.452, 3; WCNI 4.
U19, team sprint, qualifying: Southland 48.133, 1; Auckland 48.292, 2; Southland 48.810, 3; Waikato Bay of Plenty 49.489, 4
Gold medal ride: Southland (Mitchell Morris, Samuel Miller and Corbin Strong) 1; Auckland (Harry Waine, Aaron Wyllie and Harris Fogelberg) 2. Bronze medal: Waikato Bay of Plenty 3, Southland No 2, 4.
ParaCycling, individual pursuit:
Women C1-C5 3000m IP: Nicole Murray (WBP) 4.01.65, 1.
Men C1-C3 3000m IP: Devon Rogers (WBP) 4.05.152, 1; Nau Puriri (NLD) 4.45.006, 2.
Men C4-C5 4000m IP: Nick Blincoe (AKL) 5.25.616, 1.
Men Tandem 4000m IP: Mitchell Wilson and Cameron Karwowski (WBP), 4.42.195, 1.
CAPTION: The crack Waikato-Bay of Plenty women’s team pursuit combination of (from left) Racquel Sheath, Rushlee Buchanan, Jaime Nielsen and Bryony Botha in action at the Windows and Doors National Track Championships in Invercargill.
Photo courtesy Dianne Manson