The sensational sprinters were again the big hit on the final morning of qualifying at the BikeNZ national track cycling championships in Invercargill today.
Olympic medallist Simon Van Velthooven joined with Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster for Auckland to clock 44.112 in the men’s team sprint, which was just 37/1000th of a second outside the record set by the national combination.
The trio will line up against the hosts Southland with national representatives Eddie Dawkins and Matt Archibald along with talented teenager Tom Beadle who were second fastest in 44.781.
Southland’s Natasha Hansen and Stephanie McKenzie, both already individual winners this week, combined to top qualifiers in the women’s team sprint in 34.552, just outside the national record. They will ride off against Otago’s Katie Schofield and Alysha Keith in the gold medal ride.
Canterbury and Auckland meet in the bronze medal ride.
Mid South Canterbury, bolstered by London Olympians Marc Ryan and Shane Archbold, are favoured for their first elite title this weekend when they contest the gold medal ride in the men’s 4000m team pursuit tonight.
The quartet of Ryan, Archbold, Dylan Kennett and Andy van der Heyden powered their way to the top qualifying spot with a slick 4:13.227, which was two seconds inside last year’s winning time.
They will take on local team Southland in tonight’s final after the southern combination of Cameron Karwowski, Pieter Bulling and under-19 riders Josh Haggerty and Liam Aitcheson clocked 4:15.145.
The ride-off for bronze will be an all-Canterbury contest with the No 1 combination of Michael Vink, Hamish Schreurs, Mitchell Podmore and Chad Adair taking on their under-19 line-up of Max Beckert, Daniel Newmann, Connor Stead and Luke Wieblitz.
Hosts Southland topped qualifiers in the 3000m women’s team pursuit in a time of 3:33.699 and will take on Auckland in 3:35.729.
Southland, with Sequoia Cooper, Laura Fairweather and Kylie Young, impressed as the final combination on the track against the youthful Auckland combination of Racquel Sheath, Georgia Williams and Georgina Wilson.
West Coast North Island (Cassie Cameron, Gemma Dudley, Maxyna Cottom) will ride off for the bronze medal against Otago (Elyse Fraser, Kirstie James, Alysha Keith).