New Zealand elite track cyclists - including many of our Southland representatives - enjoyed four victories on the opening night of finals in the Oceania Championships in Adelaide.
The BikeNZ contingent won the men’s team sprint and time trial while the elite women won the time trial and team pursuit.
It marked an excellent start for the big New Zealand contingent in the annual event that carries important qualifying points for the world championships and ultimately the Rio Olympics.
Highlight was the excellent performance from the women’s team pursuit quartet of Lauren Ellis, Jaime Nielsen, Racquel Sheath and Georgia Williams who took out the final in impressive fashion.
They qualified fastest and dominated a tight final against a strong Australian combination including former world champion Ashlee Ankudinoff, who starred at the recent UCI qualifying event in Cambridge.
“It was a great start to the women’s Olympic qualification and the first time they have been together for this combination,” said BikeNZ head track coach, Dayle Cheatley. “They showed a lot of grit and determination and a hunger.
“For a first ride together and the first time for a women’s team pursuit in 12 months, it was very pleasing start.”
Dunedin’s Katie Schofield took full advantage of the absence of multi world and Olympic champion Anna Meares to win the women’s 500m time trial in a solid 35.309s, ahead of compatriot Steph McKenzie.
The pair combined to finish second in the team sprint final against the crack Australian pairing of Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton.
The men’s team sprint may have changed combination and order from their world championship group with Matt Archibald, Eddie Dawkins and Sam W3ebster but the result was the same. They were fastest in qualifying 44.478s, which was 0.7s ahead of the Australian Commonwealth Games combination, and then dominated the final.
Archibald stepped off the bike to then dominate the 1000m time trial, with the Glasgow bronze medallist winning in 1:01.942s.
The men’s team pursuit finished second to Australia in their gold medal clash, while best of the juniors is the outstanding Manawatu prospect Campbell Stewart who leads the junior omnium after three disciplines.
The championships continue until Saturday.
Day 1 final results:
Women’s team sprint, gold: Australia (Kaarle McCulloch, Stephanie Morton) 1, New Zealand (Stephanie McKenzie, Katie Schofield) 2, Victoria Institute 3. Qualifying: Australia 33.956, 1; VIS 34.860, 2; New Zealand 34.879, 3. Also: NZ Jnr (Emma Cumming, Jaymie King) 37.414, 6.
Men team sprint, gold: New Zealand (Matt Archibald, Eddie Dawkins, Sam Webster) 1, Australia (Daniel Ellis, Matthew Glaetzer, Shane Perkins) 2, South Australia 3. Qualifying: New Zealand 44.478, 1; Australia 44.541, 2; South Australia 45.489, 3.
Women 500m time trial: Katie Schofield (NZL) 35.309, 1; Stephanie McKenzie (NZL) 35.378, 2; Rikki Belder (AUS) 35.556, 3.
Men 1000m time trial: Matt Archibald (NZL) 1:01.942, 1; Alex Radzikiewicz (AUS) 1:03.583, 2; Braden Dean (AUS) 1:03.679, 3.
Women 4000m team pursuit, gold: New Zealand (Lauren Ellis, Jaime Nielsen, Racquel Sheath, Georgia Williams) 1, Australia (Ashlee Ankudinoff, Georgia Baker, Lauren Perry, Elissa Wundersitz) 2, ACT 3. Qualifying: NZL 4:34.978, 1; Australia 4:38.300, 2; ACT 4:48.917, 3.
Men 4000m team pursuit, gold: Australia 1, New Zealand (Pieter Bulling, Aaron Gate, Westley Gough, Marc Ryan) 2. Bronze: New South Wales 3, Australia II, 4. Qualifying: Australia 4:07.673, 1; NSW 4:08.622, 2; New Zealand 4:12.290, 3.
Women Scratch: Ashlee Ankudinoff (AUS) 1, Kimberley Wells (AUS) 2, Rebecca Wiasak (AUS) 3.
Men Scratch: Scott Law (AUS) 1, Alex Porter (AUS) 2, Nicholas Yallouris (AUS) 3.
Men Team Sprint, gold: Australia 1, New Zealand (Hamish Beadle, Sam Buckner, Campbell Stewart) 2, Victoria Institute 3. Bronze: Victoria Institute 49.194, 3; Southland (Brady Knipe, Jack Pedler, Hayden Strong) 50.291, 4. Qualifying: Australia 46/983, 1; New Zealand 49.100, 2; VIS 49.510, 3.
Women 500m time trial: Courtney Field (AUS) 35.716, 1; Tahlay Christie (AUS) 36.042, 2; Emma Cumming (NZL) 36.712, 3.
Women scratch: Michaela Drummond (NZL) 1, Nicola MacDonald (AUS) 2, Danielle McKinnirey (AUS) 3.
Omnium after 3 rounds: Campbell Stewart (NZL) 120 points, 1; Alex Rendell (AUS) 106, 2; Tom Sexton (NZL) 102, 3.