Aaron Gate – came with hunger to win

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Aaron Gate will hand omnium duties over to teammate Dylan Kennett for the Olympics this year, photo Dianne Manson

In his favourite individual event Aaron Gate was dominant.  Regularly up there in the sprints and gaining two laps on the field with Waikato Bay of Plenty’s Ryan Wills brought a classic points race victory from the former omnium world champion.

Every time Aaron Gate lines up for the points race everyone knows that they need to watch him, but no matter how hard everyone tries there is seldom much anyone can do to stop him.  When he decides to go he goes, and such was the case last night.  In the men’s points race only Ryan Wills could match him as Gate forged out a 40 point advantage by gaining two laps on the field, couple that was a healthy tally of points in the sprints and you have victory by a country mile!

Afterwards Aaron reflected on a race that put the hurt on just about everybody, “It’s always good to come out of the nationals and make it a good hard race; and if you can do that and also win it’s something I’m not going to complain.  It was good fun, nobody took it easy out there and everyone raced their guts out.  So to get another victory in the points race is very important for me because it still remains my favourite individual event,” Aaron said.

Aaron’s win came after disappointment the night before.  Though he took a bronze medal in the scratch race, Aaron felt like he could do more and he most probably would have had a crash mid-race not put paid to that.  “For me it [the win in the points race] was making up for the frustration from last night and decking myself.  I really felt like I had the legs to win it, so I definitely came out here with a bit of hunger to take the win,” Aaron reflected.

There are options for Gate when it comes to considering what he will pursue for the World Championships and Rio, and while the decision will ultimately be made by the selectors, despite his points race calibre it’s another event that Aaron has his eyes on at this stage.  “Getting back into team pursuit this season has been good fun.  It’s a hard event to beat, when you can race your guts out with your best teammates.  I can’t think of anything better than trying to win an Olympic gold medal with your best mates in a team event,” Aaron revealed.  “So that’s my main priority, it’s an awesome event and it’s great to be back in there with a group of fast guys.  It’s pretty tough right now with ten of us going for four spots.  I’ll keep going as hard as I can try and get into those four spots.”

But beyond that Aaron is surely priority one for the omnium, which he displayed last night as he dominated the key note event of the six-event discipline.  “It’s definitely a good confident boost, the points race remains the key event in the omnium so if you can have a good one there it definitely gives me good confidence for the remaining track season,” he said.

The way Aaron went about winning was particularly significant to him, given the revelation that this may be the last time we see him in points race action in 2016.  “It’s quite possibly my last points race on home soil this year.  Leading into the World Championships and the Olympics I had to have a good one, but it was definitely important for both the confidence and also from a selection point of view.  Definitely not complaining, and it was good to have a good honest race too where everyone was going out hard and giving it their best,” Aaron told us.

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