Cycling New Zealand is pleased with the efforts of its proven protagonists but excited by the burgeoning talent coming through the ranks on show at the Vantage Elite & U19 Track National Championships that concluded in Cambridge today.
Most of the riders preparing for this month’s UCI Track World Championships took part and impressed in a range of events, using the event to get race ready with a weather-eye on the major task ahead in Poland.
“Our elite riders supported it although they did not compete in the full programme. Our coaches selected events that would best help their preparations for the worlds,” said Cycling New Zealand high performance director, Martin Barras.
“There were some good performances and I was pleased with the support they gave to this event. The national championship is very important and was very good for the high performance programme.
“At the same time it is important that we always keep a close eye on what is coming underneath in the junior ranks. To some degree we achieve this through our Subway Performance Hub programmes but there is nothing like seeing them compete at a national championship.
“Naturally, I was impressed with the efforts of Finn Fisher-Black. To go under the world record twice in a day is something else. I can’t remember anyone doing that since the likes of Sarah Ulmer.”
Barras said several other young riders impressed including Ally Wollaston, Emily Paterson and Laurence Pithie. “Ally is someone we have been interested in for some time. She has a real understanding and maturity beyond her years and strong physical qualities. Likewise, Emily and Laurence showed real ability and race-craft across a range of events.”
Barras said he is encouraged with the endurance riders coming through but work needs to be done in developing sprinters. “Our sprint stocks are not as good. Sprinting has evolved almost into a different sport, more akin with weightlifting than it is with cycling. We have to do more work on identifying potential talent and how we can attract them to the sport and develop their talents.”
On the track, Eddie Dawkins completed an outstanding week combining with Nick Kergozou and Bradly Knipe to win the team sprint title for Southland. He then turned, remarkably, to the 4000m team pursuit in wheel two, helping Southland to a win, and a new championship record at the same time. No doubt his Vantage Elite teammates will hear about his exploits for some time.
The powerful Waikato BOP women’s team pursuit quartet of Racquel Sheath, Bryony Botha, Rushlee Buchanan and Jessie Hodges dominated the final, overtaking Southland before the half way mark.
It was a Waikato BOP double in the women’s team sprint, with Sheath and Ellesse Andrews combining to win the elite title, and Wollaston and Olivia King in the Under-19 final.
The championships were completed with the exciting two-person Madison with the West Coast North Island pairing of Jordan Kerby and Campbell Stewart winning the men’s, and Lauren Ellis and Jessie Hodges claiming the women’s honours.
The Waikato Bay of Plenty centre were awarded the NZACA Shield for most points across the championship, with James the leading female rider and Dawkins the leading male.
Team Pursuit, gold medal: Southland (Eddie Dawkins, Nick Kergozou, Tom Sexton, Corbin Strong) 3:58.176, 1 (NZ Championship Record); Waikato BOP (George Jackson, Dylan Kennett, Jarred Treymane, Finn Fisher-Black) 3:58.551, 2. Bronze medal: Canterbury Red (Bailey O’Donnell, Lauren Pithie, Hugo Jones, Josh Scott), 3 overtook Canterbury Black (Griffyn Spencer, Logan Currie, Max Jones, Ollie Jones), 4.
Under-19 Team Sprint: Composite (Angus Claasen, Cameron Manly, Sam Upton) 47.451, 1; Canterbury (Matthew Ownsworth, Sebastian Lipp, Laurence Pithie) 48.044, 2; Southland (Conor Shearing, Navarah Brotherston, Lachlan Robertson) 48.670, 3.
Elite Team Sprint: Southland (Eddie Dawkins, Nick Kergozou, Bradly Knipe) 44.205, 1; Composite (Ethan Mitchell, Zac Williams, Callum Saunders) 44.716, 2; Canterbury (Josh Scott, Felix Donnelly, Hugo Jones) 48.249, 3.
Madison: West Coast North Island (Jordan Kerby, Campbell Stewart) 57 pts, 1; St George Continental (Dylan Kennett, Corbin Strong), 37 pts, 2; Waikato BOP (George Jackson, Finn Fisher-Black) 15 pts, 3.
Team Pursuit, gold medal: Waikato BOP Black (Racquel Sheath, Bryony Botha, Rushlee Buchanan, Jessie Hodges) 1; Southland (Kirstie James, Emily Paterson, Natalie Green, Rylee McMullen) 2 (overtaken). Bronze medal: Waikato BOP Red (Ally Wollaston, Olivia King, Eva Parkinson, Mya Anderson) 4:41.920, 3; Canterbury Kate Smith, Sami Donnelly, Erin Downie, Elizabeth Steel) 4:42.620, 4.
Under-19 team sprint, gold medal: Waikato BOP (Olivia King, Ally Wollaston) 35.838, 1; Southland (Emily Paterson, Tyla Green) 36.440, 2. Bronze medal: Waikato BOP Black (Courtney King, Mya Anderson) 37.604, 3; Canterbury Red (Sami Donnelly, Erin Downie) 37.974, 4.
Women Team Sprint: Waikato BOP Black (Racquel Sheath, Ellesse Andrews) 34.824, 1; Waikato Bop Red (Tess Young, Tahlay Christie) 34.824, 2; Composite (Jaymie King, Sophie-Leigh Bloxham), 36.006, 3.
Madison: MS Waikato (Lauren Ellis, Jessie Hodges) 37 pts, 1; DNA Cycling (Michaela Drummond, Racquel Sheath) 28 pts, 2; Waikato BOP (Ally Wollaston, Eva Parkinson) 17 pts, 3.