UCI JUNIOR WORLD TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS – NZ WRAP DAY 1
The New Zealand team pursuit combinations will both chase medals after strong performances on the first day of the UCI Junior World Track Championships in Italy.
The junior men quartet of Josh Scott, Corbin Strong, Aaron Wyllie and Harry Waine will ride off against France for the bronze medal in the 4000m team pursuit after two strong performances on the opening day.
Meanwhile the junior women’s combination of Ellesse Andrews, Nicole Shields, Kate Smith and Emily Shearman were second fastest after their qualifying ride, and will contest the first round tomorrow, and the medal round if they make it through as one of the four fastest.
The junior men were second fastest in qualifying in 4:04.624 behind France who clocked 4:04.461. The New Zealanders were conservative through the first half of the race, only fifth fastest at the midway point, and third fastest at 3000m. They powered home with a sub-60 second final kilometre to finish second fastest.
The Russian combination was on track for a blistering time, but blew over the final 1000m to finish third fastest in 4:05.
The New Zealand team improved in their first round effort on the evening programme, timed at 4:03.424. They again produced a measured ride, fourth fastest at the 3000m mark and again stormed home with a 59 second final kilometre.
Their opponents Russia put it all together from the morning ride, with a brilliant performance to clock 4:00.972 which took half a second off the world record set by New Zealand in winning the gold medal last year.
The New Zealand team waited anxiously for the final first round clash where Denmark were timed at 4:03.288 to edge the Kiwis out of the gold medal ride by 14/100ths of a second.
The young Kiwi team will take on France for the bronze medal ride in what will be an evenly matched clash, while Russia ride Denmark for the gold medal on the day two evening programme.
Italy has set the standard in the junior women team pursuit, and the defending champions stunned the competition by breaking their own world record by an astonishing six seconds in qualifying. They blitzed through the 4000m in 4:23.229s in a remarkable display.
The Kiwi combination also set a new best time of 4:29.267 in qualifying, only 3/100ths of a second outside the previous world record mark, to be second fastest. They produced a consistent ride to the 3000m mark although will be looking to finish stronger in their first round clash against Canada tomorrow, while Italy meet France.
Meanwhile Palmerston North’s Libby Arbuckle produced an excellent ride to finish sixth in the junior women’s 5km scratch race won by hometown rider Martina Fidanza.
Tomorrow the junior men ride off for the bronze medal in the team pursuit, the junior women in the first round of the same event, Nelson’s Shaane Fulton in the individual sprint and Cambridge’s Jackson Ogle in the keirin.
The competition continues until Monday (NZ time).
Day 1 results:
Junior Men 4000m Team Pursuit, qualifying: France 4:04.461, 1; New Zealand (of Josh Scott, Corbin Strong, Aaron Wyllie, Harry Waine) 4:04.624, 2; Russia 4:05.097, 3; Denmark 4:05.835, 4.
CAPTION: The junior men team pursuit teams in action at Italy today. Credit: Sandi Scott.