Held over 3000 (Women) and 4000 (Men) metres, riders will qualify two at a time with the fastest two qualifiers riding for gold and the third and fourth fastest riding for bronze. Qualifying will be held in the Thursday morning session with evening finals on the opening night of competition.
ELITE MEN INDIVIDUAL PURSUIT
2012 NZ Track Nats: Waikato Bay of Plenty’s Peter Latham, now retired, qualified fastest with 4:21.739 and went on to defeat East Coast North Island’s Westley Gough in the ride for gold by close to two seconds. Alex Frame claimed bronze in his first year in the elite ranks by catching Southland’s Cam Karwowski in the bronze medal ride.
NZ Record: Jesse Sergent recorded 4:16.139 on his way to winning gold at the Oceania Track Championships in Invercargill in November 2011.
What’s happened Since: In one of the performances of the World Championships, Gough came from the fourth-fastest qualifying spot to shock Australian Rohan Dennis by 1.5 seconds and claim bronze at the 2012 Worlds in a time of 4:16.945. The event was unceremoniously dumped from the Olympic programme but Mid South Canterbury’s Dylan Kennett showed his class in finishing fourth at his UCI World Cup debut in Glasgow in November with a fourth-place finish in 4:28.128 – his first effort over the 4000m elite distance. Hayden McCormick was the fastest kiwi in the event at this season’s Oceania Championships with his 4:29.615 placing him 7th overall, a solitary place ahead of Kennett.
Who to Watch: With a provisional start-list of 21, this should be another gripping battle. Olympic team pursuiters Westley Gough, Marc Ryan and Aaron Gate will all be at the sharp end of competition with particular interest surrounding the return to track of double NZ U23 Road Race champion Michael Vink, the return from last season’s untimely injury for Myron Simpson, the impressive recent form of Pieter Bulling and the first domestic hit-out for 2012 Junior Worlds representatives Dylan Kennett, Hayden McCormick and Hamish Schreurs.
ELITE WOMEN INDIVIDUAL PURSUIT
2012 NZ Track Nats: In an all-Waikato-Bay of Plenty final, Kaytee Boyd took gold by less than a second over Rushlee Buchanan, after qualifying fastest in 3:41.251 last year. Impressive youngster Georgia Williams started a hugely promising first year in the elite ranks by claiming bronze ahead of Sequoia Cooper.
NZ Record: Alison Shanks’ 3:28.475 won her gold at the 2012 Oceania Track Championships in Invercargill, on the same night Jesse Sergent lowered his national men’s record.
What’s happened Since: Shanks didn’t let the disappointment of the IP’s removal from the Olympic programme hold up her World Championship effort, riding her way to gold and a coveted rainbow jersey last Easter in Melbourne, defeating Great Britain’s Wendy Houvehaghel in the ride for gold after qualifying fastest in 3:27.268. Georgia Williams as one of the comers in Women’s Endurance, riding to bronze at the Oceania Champs last year in 3:37.108.
Who to Watch: Shanks has been untouchable over this distance in New Zealand over recent years. After a less than satisfactory performance by New Zealand in the Team Pursuit in London, the selectors will be keeping a close eye on form. Fellow Olympians Jaime Nielsen, Lauren Ellis and Rushlee Buchanan will all be super-focused on strong performances with Williams one to watch, along with triple Paralympic medal winner Laura Fairweather (nee Thompson) and last year’s Junior Worlds crop, Alysha Keith, Racquel Sheath and Cassie Cameron.