The New Zealand men’s sprint team stamped their authority on the opening night of the Oceania track cycling championships at Invercargill’s SIT Zero Fees Velodrome.
The world championship silver medallist trio of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins turned around a disappointing, by their own high standards, qualifying ride to comfortably take out the gold medal final from the Australian combination of Patrick Constable, Matthew Glazer and Jacob Schmid.
“The Oceanias are always a really important event for us because of the automatic qualification we can get for individual events for the world championships,” Webster said.
“Everybody has to come here with really good condition to try and secure those spots and that filters through to the team events. For us it’s one of the final events to secure points for Rio. It’s our third win on the trot and we’ve won one at home, which is also good for the confidence with a home World Cup coming up later in the year.”
The New Zealand team did not have the perfect ride in the morning session, but still managed to top qualifying with a time of 44.170sec.
They improved to 43.810sec to take out the final.
“We had a sloppy ride in qualifying, but we are our toughest critics,” Webster said.
“We had a big improvement just by being technically better in the final. It’s always good to try some things out in qualifying, but they didn’t work out. We went back to what we knew best and got a much faster time and a better result.”
Hayden Roulston returned to the black skinsuit for the first time since the 2008 Olympics, replacing Cam Karwowski in the lineup for the men’s team pursuit final against Australia.
The New Zealand team improved by more than 4sec to head off Australia in the final, with the New Zealand women’s team also besting their trans-Tasman rivals.
New Zealand claimed three of the four team sprint titles on offer on the opening night of the championships, with the elite women’s team of Natasha Hansen and Katie Schofield having to settle for second in the final against Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch, who replaced Stephanie Morton after the qualifying round.
New Zealand’s Connor Brown claimed the under 19 men’s individual pursuit from compatriots Joshua Scott and Hugo Jones, while the southern combination of Emma Cumming and Ellesse Andrews won the under 19 women’s team sprint.
The pair also finished one-two in the under 19 women’s scratch race, with Andrews claiming the title.
Australian Lauren Perry won the elite women’s scratch race over 10km, with Luke Mudgway taking out the men’s 15km scratch after an audacious attack.
Bradley Knipe, Hamish Beadle and Jackson Ogle took out the under 19 men’s team sprint.
Southland’s Tom Sexton has won two of the first three events to lead the under 19 men’s omnium at the halfway stage.
The Oceania championships continue until Sunday.
Day one results:
U19 men’s 3000m individual pursuit: Connor Brown (NZ) 3:25.690 1; Joshua Scott (NZ) 3:29.039 2; Hugo Jones (NZ) 3:27.596 3.
U19 women’s team sprint: NZ (Emma Cumming, Ellesse Andrews) 35.838 1; AUS (Tahlay Christie, Georgia Quick) 35.937 2.
Elite women’s team sprint: Aus (Anna Meares, Kaarle McCulloch) 33.297 1; NZ (Katie Schofield, Natasha Hansen) 34.286 2.
U19 men’s team sprint: NZ (Bradley Knipe, Hamish Beadle, Jackson Ogle) 47.473 1; Aus (Kye Bonser, Charles Hofman, Kai Chapman) 47.742 2.
Elite men’s team sprint: NZ (Eddie Dawkins, Sam Webster, Ethan Mitchell) 43.810 1; Aus (Patrick Constable, Matthew Glaetzer, Jacob Schmid) 44.376 2; SASI (Braeden Dean, Tom Clarke, Jai Angsuthasawit) 45.996 3.
U19 women’s 500m time trial: Tahlay Christie (Aus) 35.584 1; Georgia Quick (Aus) 37.573 2; Chelsea Oaten (Aus) 38.192 3.
Elite women’s 500m time trial: Kaarle McCulloch (Aus) 34.237 1; Natasha Hansen (NZ) 34.982 2; Katie Schofield (NZ) 35.230 3.
Elite men’s 1000m time trial: Zac Williams (NZ) 1:01.655 1; Simon van Velthooven (NZ) 1:02.390 2; Jeremy Presbury (NZ) 1:02.786 3.
Elite women’s team pursuit final: NZ (Holly Edmonston, Kirstie James, Alysha Keith, Elizabeth Steel) 4:26.868 1; Aus (Macey Stewart, Georgia Baker, Elissa Wundersitz, Lauren Perry) 4:35.475 2.
Elite men’s team pursuit final: NZ (Aaron Gate, Hayden Roulston, Luke Mudgway, Nick Kergozou) 4:02.663 1; Aus (Alex Morgan, Rohan Wight, Alexander Porter, James Robinson) 4:04.107 2.
U19 women’s 7.5km scratch race: Ellesse Andrews (NZ) 1; Emma Cumming (NZ) 2; Chloe Heffernan (Aus) 3.
Elite women’s 10km scratch race: Lauren Perry (Aus) 1; Sophie Williamson (NZ), Alysha Keith (NZ) 3.
Elite men’s 15km scratch race: Luke Mudgway (NZ) 1; Sam Welsford (Aus) 2; Jackson Law (Aus) 3.
From left, Ethan Mitchell leads out Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins in the final of the men's team sprint during the opening night of the Oceania track cycling championships at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome in Invercargill.
Photo courtesy Eugene Bonthuys