The Southland quartet of Eddie Dawkins, Matt Archibald, Pieter Bulling and Tom Scully have secured their spot for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The World Champion team sprint trio will lead a powerful New Zealand track cycling team named today by the New Zealand Olympic Committee for the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
An initial 14-strong team has been named for the track competition, although others may be added based on further performance expectations.
Leading the way is the rainbow jersey trio of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins who won the team sprint gold medal at the recent UCI World Championships in Cali. They won a silver medal in this competition behind Australia at Delhi in 2010.
The other medallists from the world championships - Simon van Velthooven, Tom Scully and Marc Ryan (Timaru) – have also been included.
The team is experienced with only one rider who has not competed in either the world championships this year or the London Olympics.
The newcomer is Taupo’s Patrick Bevin, who has been a standout since his return from four years on the road for US-based Bissell Pro Cycling. Bevin, 22, rode impressively at the Oceania Championships in December to earn a place in January’s World Cup in Mexico where he paired up with Tom Scully to win the Madison.
Scully went on to win a silver medal at the world championships while Bevin further impressed by winning the points race at the recent national championships.
The team is young, with an average age of less than 24 years, as they look towards building success at Glasgow to build towards the Rio Olympics and beyond.
They will have a tough target after the team won nine medals on the track in Delhi, their equal highest medal haul in a Commonwealth Games.
BikeNZ High Performance Director Mark Elliott said the team has a nucleus of proven performers over the last two years.
“In the main the team is based on the men’s sprint and endurance programmes that met with such success in both London and this year’s world championships,” Elliott said.
“The competition at Glasgow is going to be extremely strong with Great Britain, the strongest nation by far at the last Olympics, splitting down into their component countries, as well as powerhouses like Australia and Canada in particular.
“We will have our first full build-up in the Avantidrome in Cambridge which coupled with some very hard work we hope will result in a further step up in performance from that at the world championships.”
Elliott said the women’s programme is in its rebuild phase with two years out to Rio.
“We are looking to invest in some talented younger riders and want more from some of our more experienced riders.
“We’ve only selected two women so far but we have others that we would like to consider for Glasgow subject to some further performances expectations over the next two months. The riders in question have been set specific goals which we hope will allow us to make further nominations to the New Zealand Olympic Committee.”
Elliott said it was likely that some endurance riders, both men and women, will also crossover to the road race to support the key professional riders.
BikeNZ expects to name the team for the mountain bike cross country early next month, any further track riders and a long list road team by the end of May.
The track team for the Commonwealth Games (with potential events for consideration) is:
Men, Endurance: Shane Archbold (Timaru), Patrick Bevin (Taupo), Pieter Bulling (Invercargill), Aaron Gate (Auckland), Dylan Kennett (Waimate), Marc Ryan (Timaru), Tom Scully (Invercargill).
Women, endurance: Lauren Ellis (Hinds), Jaime Nielsen (Hamilton).
Men, sprint: Matt Archibald (Invercargill), Eddie Dawkins (Invercargill), Ethan Mitchell (Auckland), Simon van Velthooven (Palmerston North), Sam Webster (Auckland).