The New Zealand track cycling team made their intentions clear in the opening rounds of the UCI Track World Cup in Cambridge, today, with convincing qualifying round performances setting the scene for an exciting weekend of racing against a strong international field.
Back on form, the Kiwi men’s sprint team of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins secured their place in tomorrow’s gold medal final, qualifying second to current World Cup leaders Germany.
“I think we did well to tick all the boxes tonight, we can improve but we know we’re in a really good place. With one more day and the expectation of the home race and the crowd behind us there’s no more unknown,” said Webster.
Coach Anthony Peden is confident the sprinters have more to bring in tomorrow’s final.
“Execution was the key, every time we execute we go well and today was just a ticket to the final and tomorrow we’ll lift our game, don’t worry about that, ”Peden said.
The men’s pursuit team of Pieter Bulling, Nick Kergozou, Alex Frame and Regan Gough also secured a second place qualifying finish, behind Australia in a 16 strong qualifying pool.
A near sell-out crowd at the Avantidrome in Cambridge gave New Zealand’s teams a rare home crowd advantage, with this being the first UCI Track World Cup to be hosted in New Zealand.
The Kiwi women’s pursuit team of Rushlee Buchanan, Lauren Ellis, Jaime Nielsen and Georgia Williams finished a creditable third with their time of 4:23.382.
“Racing on the home track was cool, you almost need to check yourself a little bit that it’s race day and this is the world cup. We know the track so well and we really felt comfortable” Buchanan said.
“We just wanted to see what we could do, we’ve been training really well so we’re happy with our ride but we know we can produce more tomorrow”
The women’s team sprint pair of Katie Schofield and Natasha Hansen were eighth fastest in 33.987 with the competition led by world champions China in 32.711.
Racing continues Saturday and Sunday December.
Men’s Team Sprint
The German trio of Rene Enders, Joachim Eilders and Max Niederlag who had the speed to not only hold off the Kiwis, but beat the benchmark set by the Australian Jayco-AIS team. Germany posted a time of 43.151 with the Kiwis - Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins - stopping the clock just 0.25 seconds later. Team Jayco-AIS will face Great Britain for the bronze medal.
Women’s Team Sprint
The heavyweights of the sport were out in force for the qualifying round of the women’s team sprint. The line up included numerous current and former world champions, European champions and world record holders. Current world record holders Jinje Gong and TianshiZhong of China averaged over 55kmph and set the fastest time of the night with 32.711 to move through to the gold medal race along with Australia’s Kaarle McCulloch and Steph Morton.Laurine van Riessen and Elis Ligtlee of the Netherlands out-rode the French combo of Sandie Clair and VirgnieCueff to move through to the bronze medal ride, along with the German powerhouse team of Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel. Crowd favourites New Zealanders Katie Schofield and Natasha Hansen were unable to match the pace of the night, finishing in a respectable 19.500 to claim 8th place.
Men’s Team Pursuit
Trans-Tasman rivalry kicked off day 1 of racing, with the Australian team of Alex Edmondson, Jack Bobridge and Michael Hepburn - all former world champions, qualifying fastest in a blistering 3:56.403, with current world champions Pieter Bulling, Alex Frame and Regan Gough, joined by Nicholas Kergozou t settling for second place with a time 3:58.716. Racing was interrupted momentarily following a spectacular crash for Denmark in the final half of their race. The bruised and battered team members followed up with an outstanding re-ride to qualify third fastest in 4:00.911, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd. Cali World Cup silver medallists Switzerland also move through to the next round tomorrow, with riders Silvan Dillier, Individual Pursuit World Champion Stefan Kueng, Frank Pasche and TherySchir qualifying fourth fastest with 4:02.394.
Women’s Team Pursuit
World Cup leaders Canadians Allison Beveridge, Laura Brown, Jasmin Glaesser and Kristi Lay proved that their success in Cali, Colombia last month was no fluke, by once again setting the fastest time, at 4:19.35. Australia came close to Canada’s time, finishing less than a second slower with a time of 4:20.157. It was the first time that the rainbows of World champions Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Amy Cure were on display in a World Cup, with the trio joined by Georgia Baker. The New Zealand team finished third, with a time of 4.23.382 forming the benchmark for Canada to beat. Canada will face USA in the first round on Saturday morning while Australia will ride against New Zealand. The winner of each pursuit will book a spot in the final. Belarus, China, Italy and Great Britain also proceed to the next round.
Results Day 1:
Women 4000m Team Pursuit qualifying: Canada (Allison Beveridge, Laura Brown, Jasmin Glaesser) 4:19.359, 1; Australia (Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Georgia Baker, Amy Cure) 4:20.157, 2; New Zealand (Rushlee Buchannan, Lauren Ellis, Jaime Nielsen, Georgia Williams) 4:23.382, 3; USA (Jennifer Valente, Kelly Catlin, Lauren Stephens, Ruth Winder) 4:24.965, 4.
Men 4000m Team Pursuit: Australia (Glenn O’Shea, Jack Bobridge, Alex Edmondson, Michael Hepburn) 3:56.403, 1; New Zealand (Nick Kergozou, Pieter Bulling, Alex Frame, Regan Gough) 3:58.716, 2; Denmark (Lasse Norman Hansen, Caster Pedersen, Rasmus Quaade, Casper von Folsach) 4:00.911, 3; Switzerland (Silvan Dillier, Stefan Kueng, Frank Pasche, Thery Schir) 4:02.368, 4.
Women Team Sprint qualifying: China (Jinje Gong, Tianshi Zhong) 32.711, 1; Jayco Australia (Kaarle McCulloch, Stephanie Morton) 32.852, 2; Netherlands (Laurine fan Riessen, Elis Ligtlee) 33.107, 3; Germany (Miriam Welte, Kristina Vogel) 33.129, 4.
Men Team Sprint qualifying: Germany (R Eders, M Niederlag, J Eilers) 43.151, 1; New Zealand (Ethan Mitchell Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins) 43.401, 2; Team Jayco Australia (Nathan Hart, Jacob Schmid, Matthew Glattzer) 43.542, 3; Great Britain (Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny, Callum Skinner) 43.848, 4.
CAPTION: The New Zealand men’s team sprint burst out of the start in qualifying on the opening day of the UCI Track World Cup in Cambridge.
Photo courtesy: Dianne Manson
NOTE: Individual Summaries of each qualifying performance, flash quotes, results and images