New Zealand has won silver and bronze medals on the opening day of the second UCI track cycling World Cup in London.
The men’s team pursuit grabbed an outstanding silver medal and excellent qualifying points which should cement their spot for February’s world championship.
The world champion men’s team sprint took out the bronze medal, as they did in the opening World Cup last month.
They were pipped by just 7/1000th of a second for a place in the final, finishing third fastest in an extraordinary qualifying session where 2/10ths of a second separated the top four teams.
Germany led the way with 43.700s on a sluggish London Velodrome with Australia second in 43.832 and New Zealand 43.839.
The Kiwi combination of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins then edged the former world champions, France in the ride for the bronze clocking 43.713s with Germany fractionally faster than the Kiwis in taking the gold medal over Australia.
In both team pursuits, the New Zealand coaches opted to use their specialist omnium riders Aaron Gate and Raquel Sheath for the qualifying with Myron Simpson and Jaime Nielsen rested. Both riders came back into the team for the second ride to add a fresh boost in the exhausting three rides on the opening day.
The men’s combination of Gate, Pieter Bulling, Westley Gough, Cam Karwowski clocked a solid 4:03.773 to be fourth fastest, three second behind top ranked Australia but only narrowly slower than hosts Great Britain and Denmark.
New Zealand drew Australia in the semifinal, with the Australians, down to three riders for their final push, then having Luke Davison puncture and the team failed to finish. The Kiwis took full advantage to claim the win and move to the gold medal ride, with the Australians relegated to the ride for seventh and eighth.
The Kiwis pushed hard to match Great Britain until the midway mark of the 4000m final but ran out of gas and had to settle for second.
The women managed seventh fastest in London but dominated in their first round clash against Germany, winning by more than three seconds.
The Germans’ time was the second quickest of the other teams, which meant a repeat race for fifth and sixth. The New Zealanders started well but both teams remained locked for the next 2000m before the Germans were the first to blink first, edged by 0.3 seconds at the finish.
Great Britain came back from a slow start to win the final over Australia in 4:22.194 with Canada third.
The women’s team sprint combination of Katie Schofield and Stephanie McKenzie were 10th fastest in 34.111s from the 22 teams, just over a second behind leaders China.
Tomorrow Gate and Sheath begin the omnium competition while the men sprinters race the keirin and the women in the individual sprint.
Day 1 results:
Women's team pursuit, qualifying: Great Britain 4:23.406, 1; Australia 4:23.498, 2; Canada 4:28.208, 3. Also: New Zealand (Raquel Sheath, Rushlee Buchanan, Lauren Ellis, Georgia Williams) 4:33.677, 7.
First round: New Zealand (Buchanan, Ellis, Jaimie Nielsen, Williams) 4:32.300 bt Germany 4:35.203, China 4:30.032 bt Russia 4:36.933, Australia 4:24.504 bt Canada 4:26.590, Great Britain 4:24.715 bt USA dsq. Gold ride: Great Britain 4:22.167, 1; Australia 4:24.244, 2. Bronze Canada 4:23.681, 3; China 4:32.070, 4. Fifth-sixth: New Zealand (Buchanan, Ellis, Jaimie Nielsen, Williams) 4:32.797, 5; Germany 4:33.305, 6.
Men team sprint, qualifying: Germany 43.700, 1; Australia 43.832, 2; New Zealand (Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins) 43.839, 3; France 43.907, 4. Gold ride: Germany 43.665, 1; Australia 44.113, 2. Bronze ride: New Zealand 43.713, 3; France 43.765, 4.
Men Team pursuit qualifying: Australia 4:00.577, 1; Great Britain 4:02.373, 2; Denmark 4:02.428, 3; New Zealand (Aaron Gate, Pieter Bulling, Westley Gough, Cam Karwowski) 4:03.773, 4.
Semifinal 1: New Zealand (Bulling, Gough, Karwowski, Myron Simpson) 4:03.654, 1; Australia dnf, 2. Semifinal 2: Great Britain 4:00.251, 1; Denmark 4:00.446, 2. Gold ride: Great Britain 4:00.957, 1; New Zealand 4:05.425, 2. Bronze ride: Denmark 4:02.248, 3; Switzerland 4:05.378, 4.
Women’s team sprint qualifying: China 32.956, 1; Germany 33.022, 2; Australia 33.130, 3; Russia 33.336, 4. Also: New Zealand (Katie Schofield, Stephanie McKenzie) 34.111, 10.
Photo courtesy Guy Swarbrick/BikeNZ