The experienced Rushlee Buchanan picked up some solid Olympic qualifying points with a top-10 finish in the omnium on day three of the UCI Track World Championships in Poland.
The multi-national champion, who was third in the omnium in last year’s world championships, competed despite feeling unwell yesterday with illness affecting a number of the Vantage Elite New Zealand team.
She was swapped out of the women’s team pursuit for the bronze medal ride after being helped off her bike following the first-round performance yesterday.
Buchanan rode with experience and nous today to finish ninth in the four-event omnium, won by defending champion Kirsten Wild (NED) in a close battle with Italy’s Letizia Paternoster.
The New Zealander was 13th in the Scratch race, second behind Japan’s Yumi Kajihara in the Tempo race and 18th in the Elimination. She was eighth in the Points race including one sprint lap win to finish on 66 points in ninth.
“It was hard out there with a stacked field but I came here with high expectations of a good race. Last year was a good race and wanted to leave it all out on the track today.
“Every year as we get closer to the Olympics it gets harder and harder because Olympic qualification becomes a key part of it. Riders get better and it makes the racing more aggressive. So you can’t come to a world champs and expect an easy race – it was far from easy and next year will be another step up again.
“There were some pros and cons which I will learn from and I have definitely not finished with omnium. I will definitely credit myself from the good races like the tempo and points but I will learn from the bad ones.
“Last year I took opportunities that arose in the points race which worked out in my favour. But it was a different style of racing this year. You can’t do the same thing twice and expect the same result. The whole team will take learnings from this year and come back next year stronger and better.”
Earlier Nick Kergozou (1:01.436) and Corbin Strong (1:02.87) were 10th and 17th respectively in the 1000m time trial while scratch race bronze medallist Tom Sexton was 18th in the Points race.
Tomorrow is a busy day for the New Zealand squad with Ellesse Andrews in the 500m time trial, Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell in the individual sprint, Campbell Stewart in the omnium, Kirstie James and Bryony Botha in the individual pursuit and Racquel Sheath and Michaela Drummond in the Madison.