Three BikeNZ riders pushed their claims for international selection with strong performances on the opening night of the RaboDirect Track National Championships in Invercargill.
The Waikato Bay of Plenty pair of Peter Latham and Kaytee Boyd along with Southland-based Natasha Hansen put their hands up for the upcoming UCI World Cup in London and the World Championships with impressive wins tonight.
Waikato’s Peter Latham won the men’s 4000m individual pursuit title after beating off the challenge from fellow Beijing Olympic squad member Westley Gough (Waipukurau) in a vital showdown as selectors look to fill the vacant spot in the team pursuit for the London World Cup later this month.
“Any national title is nice to win and I’m pretty satisfied to come through with a good ride tonight,” said Latham.
“We had a good campaign in Beijing at the World Cup a few weeks ago. I made the most of the opportunity to ride the team pursuit there and wanted to back that up tonight with a good ride.
“The event the whole team is targeting is the world championships in April in Melbourne. Whether they take me to London in a few weeks or they send me home to train for a weeks, I will just go where I am told.”
Latham is one eight team pursuit riders vying for the four Olympic team pursuit spots.
“There’s a lot of hungry guys. It’s a pretty good position for BikeNZ to be in. It makes the competition between all of the fellas pretty tight. We just want to make the team go faster.”
Latham topped the qualifiers in 4:21.730 just ahead of Gough’s 4.22.065. The Waikato man was able to repeat that effort with a 4:21.975 in the final, taking control in the second half of the 4000m battle.
Meanwhile Boyd was the best of the women in the 3000m individual pursuit, taking the national title ahead of teammate Rushlee Buchanan.
Both Boyd and Buchanan have been part of the BikeNZ team pursuit squad at world championship level and are also battling for a spot going forward.
“Individual pursuits are always a tough ride, but I was confident in myself. It wasn’t really about the title tonight, it was about doing a good ride,” said Boyd.
“I’m feeling better all of the time. The conditions aren’t too cold which is really helpful. The bikes we have are amazing, These new Avantis are great and I am pretty rapt with them.
“I find individual pursuit a real mental challenge but I think I am getting better at them slowly. It seems so simple but you have to think the whole way through. You have to slowly release the energy.”
Boyd was top qualifier in 3.41.251 for the 3000m with Buchanan nearly 1.5 seconds back. But in a massive battle of two international riders, Boyd pipped Buchanan by just 3/1000th of a second in a tremendous race.
Two young riders announced their arrival in the elite ranks with junior worlds medallist Georgia Williams (Auckland) taking the bronze medal ahead of Southland’s Sequoia Cooper and Alex Frame (Canterbury) having a stunning race to catch rival Cameron Karwowski (Southland) in the ride for the bronze medal in the men.
Invercargill-based Hansen reinforced hopes that the burgeoning women’s sprint programme has a strong future when she decimated the 500 metre time trial national record. Hansen set a new time of 34.915, with her New Zealand representative team sprint partner Katie Schofield (Otago) also eclipsing the current record and securing herself the silver medal.
The pair are making a late push for Olympic qualification and hope to be selected for the London World Cup, which offers a further chance towards their Olympic dream.
Earlier in the night Hansen partnered teenager Stephanie McKenzie (Southland) to win the women’s team sprint, finishing just a blink off the national record.
BikeNZ riders Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Simon van Velthooven (Auckland) were too strong for their Southland rivals in the team sprint final. The trio rode a 44.268 to narrowly miss the national record by 3/10ths of a second, taking the title ahead of the Southland trio of Regan Sheath, Matt Archibald and Eddie Dawkins.
Dylan Kennett (Canterbury) has indicate he has the consistency needed to excel in the Omnium after three podium placings in the first events giving him an early nine point lead ahead of Hayden McCormick (Waikato Bay of Plenty) in the under 19 men’s omnium.
Alysha Keith (Otago) leads the under 19 women’s Omnium after three events. Keith won the flying lap and the points race and placed to establish a three point lead ahead of Cassie Cameron (Wanganui).
The championships continues until Monday.
Men Individual Pursuit, 4000m Qualifying: Peter Latham (WBOP) 4.21.739, 1; Wes Gough (ECNI) 4.22.065, 2; Alex Frame (Canterbury) 4.25.709, 3; Cameron Karwowski (Southland) 4.32.308, 4.
Final: Latham 4.21.975, 1; Gough 4.23.753, 2. Bronze ride: Frame 3.54.335 3; Karwowski (caught) 4.
Women Individual Pursuit, 3000m Qualifying: Kaytee Boyd (WBOP) 3.41.251, 1; Rushlee Buchanan (WBOP) 3.43.061, 2; Georgia Williams (Auckland) 3.43.983, 3; Sequoia Cooper (Southland) 3.44.860, 4.
Final: Boyd 3.41.977, 1; Buchanan 3.42.00, 2. Bronze ride: Williams 3.43.880, 3.
Men Team Sprint, qualifying: Auckland (Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Simon van Velthooven) 44.396, 1; Southland (Regan Sheath, Matt Archibald, Eddie Dawkins) 45.772, 2; Composite (Karl Watson, James Vercoe, Ben Simpson) 49.731, 3.
Final: Auckland 44.268, 1; Southland 45.662, 2; Composite 49.731, 3.
Women Team Sprint, qualifying: Southland (Stephanie McKenzie, Natasha Hansen) 35.077, 1; Auckland (Vanessa Quinn, Henrietta Mitchell) 37.049, 2; Canterbury (Olivia Wieblitz, Elizabeth Steel) 37.912, 3.
Final: Southland 34.778, 1; Auckland 36.913, 2; Canterbury 37.912, 3.
Men 1000m Time Trial: Karwowski 1.02.698, 1; Gough 1.03.179, 2; Aaron Gate (Auckland), 1.03.484, 3.
Women 500m Time Trial: Natasha Hansen (Southland), 34.915 (NZ Record) 1; Katie Schofield (Otago), 34.989, 2; Stephanie McKenzie (Southland), 36.568, 3.
Under 19 Men Omnium
200m Flying Lap: Dylan Kennett (Canterbury) 13.381, 1; Tom Beadle (Southland) 13.582, 2; Daniel Ellison (Tasman) 13.855, 3
Points Race: Hayden McCormick (WBOP) 17 pts, 1; Hamish Schreurs (Canterbury) 8 pts, 2; Kennett, 8pts, 3.
Elimination: Kennett 1; McCormick 2; Beadle, 3.
Standings after three events: Kennett, 5 pts, 1; McCormick, 14pts, 2; Beadle and Harrison, 17pts, equal 3.
Under 19 Women Omnium
200m Flying Lap: Alysha Keith (Otago) 14.938, 1; Racquel Sheath (Auckland) 15.135, 2; Georgina Wilson (Auckland) 15.537, 3
Points Race: Keith, 12 pts, 1; Cassie Cameron (WCNI) 10 pts, 2; Wilson, 10 pts, 3.
Elimination: Cameron 1; Keith 2; Sheath 3.
Standings after three events: Keith, 4pts, 1; Cameron 7pts, 2; Sheath, 9 pts, 3.