Big Southland sprinters Eddie Dawkins and Matthew Archibald produced standout performances on the final day of the UCI track cycling World Cup in London today.
Dawkins was the top qualifier in the men's sprint and the only rider to go under the 10-second barrier in what proved a sluggish track at the velodrome which had produced slicker times at the 2012 London Olympics.
Archibald produced his most impressive international performance, qualifying eighth and going on to finish fourth, edging out his teammate Dawkins in the quarterfinal.
The 2013 world champion Aaron Gate recovered from his crash yesterday to finish fifth overall in the men's omnium after placing second in the final points race.
The New Zealand team performances have secured strong qualifying points in all targeted events for February's prime goal of the world championships, particularly the team pursuit, team sprint and men's omnium.
This will allow BikeNZ to rest their key performers from January's final World Cup in Colombia.
"We have now secured the qualifying points we need for the world championships in most of our targeted events and that will allow us to allow many of our key riders to now prepare solely for the world championships," said BikeNZ head coach Dayle Cheatley.
"I am delighted for Matt Archibald who has put in a huge amount of hard work and now getting the rewards in what is his most successful performance on the international scene.
"Eddie's qualifying ride was outstanding and in the omnium Aaron Gate has emerged at this stage as our targeted omnium rider at present looking ahead to Rio.
"The team pursuit for both men and women are solid but we need to work on our top end power and speed, and our execution especially in the first ride which is critical in determining the colour of the medals that you can chase.
"The team sprint for men is still right up there while the women are progressing."
Cheatley singled out praise for young Aucklander rider Georgia Williams in her contribution to the women's pursuit in London.
In the men's rankings, New Zealand is currently ranked third in both men's team pursuit and team sprint, Sam Webster is 5th, Dawkins 9th and Archibald 14th in the sprint, Dawkins is 14th in the keirin and Gate is 14th after just one event in the omnium.
The women are ranked fifth in the team pursuit, eighth in the team sprint and Stephanie Mckenzie is 20th in the individual sprint and newcomer Racquel Sheath is ranked 14th in the omnium.
Today Dawkins led all qualifiers in the sprint qualifying, clocking 9.975s to be the only rider under 10 seconds, with Archibald eighth in 10.047 and Webster 11th in 10.086.
The trio won their first round with Webster and Archibald beaten by the narrowest of margins in the second round. Archibald recovered by winning his repechage and then upset teammate Dawkins in two straight rides in the quarterfinal.
The Commonwealth Games time trial medallist was beaten by Colombia's Fabian Zapata in two close rides in the semifinals and edged by 2/100ths of a second in the deciding ride for the bronze medal by Venezueela's Hersony Canelon.
In the omnium Gate, who has been focussing on his team pursuit training of late, struggled in the timed events, finishing 17th in the time trial and 15th in the flying lap. But he bounced back to be second in the points race, putting a lap on the field, and pushing him to fifth overall.
In the women, Sheath had a consistent second day to be 17th in the time trial, 13th in the flying lap and 14th in the points race to finish 19th overall.
Earlier Stephanie McKenzie missed out in the first round and repechage in the women's keirin.
The team return home this week but will be straight back into training, with some new names expected for the final world cup in Cali next month.
Day 3 results:
Sprint qualifying: Eddie Dawkins 9.975 1, Robert Forstemann (GER) 10.008, 2; Matt Glaetzer (AUS) 10.015, 3. Also Matt Archibald 10.047, 8; Sam Webster 10.086, 11
Round 1: Dawkins bt Adam Ptacnik (CZE), Archibald bt Erik Balzer (GER), Webster bt Kevin Sireau (FRA). Round 2: Dawkins bt Jeffrey Hoogland (NED), Forstemann bt Webster (2/100ths), Stefan Botticher (GER) bt Archibald (1/100ths). Repechage: Archibald 1, Glaetzer 2, Webster 3.
Quarterfinals: Archibald bt Dawkins 2-0, Hoogland bt Forstemann 2-1, Hersony Canelon (VEN) bt Nikita Shurshin (RUS) 2-0, Fabian Zapata (COL) bt Botticher 2-1. 5th-8th: Bitticher 1, Dawkins 2, Shurshin 3, Forstemann 4. Semifinals: Zapata bt Archibald 2-0, Hoogland bt Canelon 2-1. Final: Hoogland bt Zapata 2-1. Bronze: Canelon bt Archibald 2-1. W L L (5/100ths, 3 /100th)
Omnium: Men, 1000m time trial: Aaron Gate 1:06.953, 17; Flying Lap: Gate 13.780, 15. Points race: Viktor Manakov 38, Gate 33, King Cheung HGK 31.
Final points: Fernando Gaviria Rendon (COL) 197, Scott Law (AUS) 171, Bobby Lea (USA) 164. Also Gate 141, 5.
Women, 500m time trial: Sheath 37.455, 17; Flying lap: Sheath 14.978, 13. Points race: 2 points, 14. Overall points: Laura Trott 193, Jolien D'Hoore BEL 181, 2; Kirsten Wild (NED) 167, 3. Also: Sheath 60, 19.
Women Keirin: Heat 3, Stephanie McKenzie 3. Repechage: McKenzie 4th.