UCI TRACK CYCLING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – DAY 2 WRAP
The New Zealand team pursuiters experienced a day of mixed fortunes on day two of the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in London.
Unfortunately, New Zealand relinquished their world title following a hugely disappointing first round ride earlier today. The quartet put in a ragged performance against Australia, and although New Zealand bounced back to later put in a much improved display, they had to settle for seventh overall.
However, the disappointment endured by the Kiwi men’s team pursuit squad was offset by an outstanding display by the women’s quartet as they smashed the New Zealand record by more than two seconds to record 4:20.673.
The Kiwi quartet of Lauren Ellis, Rushlee Buchanan, Jaime Nielsen and Racquel Sheath qualified third quickest to set up a clash with Canada, the 2015 World bronze medallists, tomorrow with the winners progressing to the gold medal ride.
The USA topped the qualifiers recording an impressive 4:16.180 with half-a-second covering the next four teams. The Kiwis, who were fifth fastest after the first 1000m, produced three consistent kilometre splits of 1:03 to climb to third.
Earlier, the New Zealand men’s team pursuit quartet suffered a major blow after a heavy defeat to Australia in their first round clash.
Neck-and-neck with their Trans-Tasman rivals Australia at the 3000m mark with both teams down to three riders on plan, the New Zealanders faded to a time of 4:00.280 when Dylan Kennett lost contact and drifted off the other two riders, Piet Bulling and Aaron Gate. Australia finished strongly to stop the clock in 3:54:029.
Nick Kergozou came back in to the Kiwi quartet for the ride-off for seventh and eighth place and New Zealand gave a truer reflection of their ability to defeat the Netherlands in emphatic fashion.
The foursome in black trailed the Dutch quartet by nearly 0.7 seconds at 1000m before establishing their rhythm and nosed ahead for the first time at 1500m. Putting together a consistent second and third kilometres of 57.1 and 57.3 respectively, the Kiwis finished the race in style clocking an outstanding 56.375 for the final 1000m to record an overall time of 3:55.875 – the third fastest time of all teams at the competition.
The Dutch finished well behind in 4:03.486.
“They had the opportunity to put themselves into the gold medal ride but they failed to execute in the first ride today,” said Head Coach Dayle Cheatley. “They bounced back in the evening and put a ride together that we knew they could do.
“The coach Tim Carswell did a good job to fire them up and for them to put down a time that they were more than capable of doing. They finished the ride now with belief that they can produce a competitive time to be a real factor in Rio.”
In a thrilling ride-off for gold Australia defeated hosts Great Britain – led by Sir Bradley Wiggins - in a world-class time of 3:52.727. Australia established early control only for Britain to strike back and claim a slender lead with two laps remaining. However, despite being roared on by a partisan home crowd Australia executed the more structured ride to bounce back and claim gold. Britain recorded 3:53.856 for silver.
Denmark took the bronze in 3:55.936 from Italy.
Earlier Southland’s Matt Archibald finished sixth in the men’s 1000m time trial on a sluggish London velodrome, clocking 1:01.718 to just miss out on a second successive podium. Germany’s Joachim Eilers after successive silver medals at the two previous World Championships this time took gold in 1:00.470.
Kiwi Natasha Hansen missed out on qualifying for the semi-finals in the women’s keirin, finishing third in a cut-throat repechage. Germany’s Kristina Vogel later went on to secure the gold from Australian track cycling legend Anna Meares.
In today’s other final Great Britain’s Laura Trott struck gold in the women’s scratch race.
The Kiwi women’s team pursuit quartet will take centrestage in tomorrow’s action at the London Velodrome as they meet Canada in their first round match up with the winners rewarded with a place in the gold medal ride-off.
Also in action tomorrow will be two-thirds of New Zealand’s victorious team sprint trio as Eddie Dawkins and Sam Webster line up in the men’s sprint. The 2013 world champion Aaron Gate starts his quest for a podium spot in the men’s omnium while Dylan Kennett is in action in the Men’s Individual Pursuit. Luke Mudgway competes in the men’s points Race.
CAPTION: Nick Kergozou pushes to the front of the men’s team pursuit in their ride for seventh and eighth.
Photo courtesy Guy Swarbrick