Andrews steps up to claim first elite individual pursuit honours

Halberg Emerging Talent winner Ellesse Andrews grabbed her first elite honour on day two of the Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Adelaide.

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Ellesse Andrews on the way to victory in the women’s 3000m individual pursuit at the Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Adelaide. (Credit: Kevin Anderson/Chameleon Photography)

Halberg Emerging Talent winner Ellesse Andrews grabbed her first elite honour on day two of the Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Adelaide.

The 18-year-old won the elite women’s 3000m individual pursuit title at the Adelaide Super-Drome to head the New Zealand performances on a day dominated by the host nation.

The other title for New Zealand on day two went to Canterbury’s Laurence Pithie, stepping up from the under-17 grades to win the junior men’s individual pursuit.

Andrews, who was sixth at the Commonwealth Games in her first individual pursuit over the longer 3000m distance, clocked 3:35.379 to top qualifying in the afternoon and won the final over Australia’s Maeve Plouffe in 3:38.380 in the evening.

Central Otago teenager Nicole Shields, a junior world track medallist last year, stepped up to the elite ranks to finish third.

Andrews started strongly but the Australian began to close the margin before the Kiwi reacted to win with a comfortable three second margin.

“I am pretty stoked to be honest. I have not done an IP for a few months and I was unsure what I was aiming for,” said Andrews. “So to do 3:35 for my first one which is not far off my PB and to back that up with the finals ride just a little bit slower but get the gold was pretty cool too.

“I knew it was pretty tight and started to press it down with three or four laps to go and managed to keep the gaps.”

Andrews said the move to the longer 3000m suited her.

“I quite like it. I approach it very differently and I have to learn to hold the pace and just rip my legs off really. It is good to learn new skills to be able to ride the 3km.”

Shields, a teammate of Andrews in their junior world championship pursuit medal two years ago, was pleased with her podium effort.

“It’s the first ride of the season after coming off a big winter block. It is a good start to build on and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Pithie was fastest in qualifying for the junior 3000m individual pursuit in 3:21.378 and was a fraction slower in winning the final a few hours later in 3:23.212, holding off Australian Oliver Bleddyn by two seconds.

The Christchurch rider has gained numerous honours at age and schools competition on the track and road, but he ticked off some big boxes with his win in Adelaide.

“First major win, first time racing overseas and first-time racing Under19s. It is a really big step-up from racing Under-17s, the racing is so much harder,” said Pitchie.

“I geared down for the final because the legs were a bit tired from the morning ride which worked out well. I was two seconds slower in the final but it was smoother with the smaller gear but just as hard.

“My focus was to ride to my time tonight in the final and now worry about my opponent. I knew if I kept to my schedule I would be able to roll him.”

In other rides, Emma Cumming and Olivia Podmore were second and third respectively behind World and Commonwealth Games team sprint champion Kaarle McCulloch in the 500m time trial.

Zac Williams was the best of the Vantage elite riders in the men’s 1000m time trial, pushed out of the silver medal position by just 0.03 of a second, while Commonwealth Games medallist Campbell Stewart was third in the omnium in his first track appearance after returning from a road contract in Europe.

The competition finishes on Saturday.

Results:

Elite:

Women 500m time trial, qualifying: Kaarle McCulloch (AUS) 34.188, 1; Emma Cumming (NZL) 34.393, 2; Olivia Podmore (NZL) 34.582, 3. Final: McCulloch 34.075, 1; Cumming 34.243, 2; Podmore 34.609, 3.

Men 1000m time trial, qualifying: Cameron Scott (AUS) 1:01.500, 1; Zac Williams (NZL) 1:01.737, 2; Tylah Meunier (AUS) 1:02.238, 3. Final: Cameron Scott (AUS) 1:01.503, 1; Tylah Meunier (AUS) 1:02.031; Zac Williams (NZL) 1:02.073, 3.

Women 3000m individual pursuit, qualifying: Ellesse Andrews (NZL) 3:35.379, 1; Maeve Plouffe (AUS) 3:39.994, 2; Nicole Shields (NZL) 3:40.617, 3; Sam de Riter (AUS) 3:41.762, 4. Final: Andrews 3:38.380, 1; Plouffe 3:41.993, 2. 3rd/4th: Shields 3:40.158, 3; De Riter 3:46.231, 4.

Men Omnium, Scratch (10km): Kelland O’Brien (AUS) 1, Godfrey Slattery (AUS) 2, Sam Welsford (AUS) 3. Also: Campbell Stewart (NZL) 4. Tempo (10km): Welsford 27 points, 1; Stewart 25, 2; Jarrad Drizners (AUS) 21, 3. Elimination: Welsford 1, Stewart 2, O’Brien 3. Points race: Welsford 32 points, 1; O’Brient 21, 2; Stewart 13, 3. Overall: Welsford 148 points, 1; O’Brien 129, 2; Stewart 123, 3.

Women Scratch (10km): Ashlee Ankudinoff (AUS) 1; Annette Edmondson (AUS) 2; Georgia Baker (AUS) 3. Also: Kate Smith (NZL) 10, Nicole Shields (NZL) 11.

Men Scratch (15km): Sam Welsford (AUS) 1, Leigh Howard (AUS) 2, Cameron Scott (AUS) 3. Also: Tom Sexton (NZL) 8, Sam Dobbs (NZL) 9.

Junior:

Men Madison, 25km: Frisle/Bleddyn (AUS) 40 points, 1; Eather/Britten (AUS) 29, 2; Spencer/Shearing (NZL) 28, 3.

Women 500m time trial, qualifying: Heather May (AUS) 36.817, 1; Eliza Bennett (AUS) 37.200, 2; Jennifer Brown (NZL) 38.173, 3. Final: May 36.567, 1; Bennett 36.835, 2; Tia Slama (AUS) 38.275, 3.

Men 1000m time trial qualifying: Jaden Rollison (AUS) 1:06.388, 1; Cameron Manley (NZL) 1:06.969, 2; Louis Stibbard (AUS) 1:07.949, 3. Final: Rollison 1:07.088, 1; Manley 1:07.711, 2; Stibbard 1:07.800, 3.

Women 2000m individual pursuit, qualifying: Lauren Robards (AUS) 2:27.007, 1; Ashley Jones (AUS) 2:29.217, 2; Ella Sibley (AUS) 2:30.157, 3. Also: Emily Paterson (NZL), 5. Final: Robards 2:26.949, 1; Jones 2:28.494, 2. 3rd/4th: Sibley 2:30.223, 3; Katarina Chung-Orr (AUS) 2:30.710, 4.

Men 3000m individual pursuit, qualifying: Laurence Pithie (NZL) 3:21.378, 1; Oliver Bleddyn (AUS) 3:24.233, 2; Bill Simpson (AUS) 3:26.491, 3; Alastair Mackellar (AUS) 3:27.777, 4. Final: Pithie 3:23.212, 1; Bleddyn 3:25.387, 2. 3rd/4th: Mackellar 3:24.600, 3; Simpson 3:30.461, 4.

Women Points Race (10km): Ella Sibley (AUS) 15 points, 1; Dharlia Haines (AUS) 11, 2; Lauren Robards (AUS) 11, 3. Also: Olivia King (NZL) 8, 4.

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