A youthful New Zealand women’s team have a chance for a medal at the final UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Hong Kong today. The women’s team pursuit that includes three teenagers will take on Poland to push for a place in the bronze medal ride on the second day of the programme.
The quartet of Holly Edmondston 19, Bryony Botha 18, newcomer Michaela Drummond 17 and the experienced Pip Sutton finished fifth fastest in the 4000m qualifying ride in 4:31.287. The fastest two teams from the semifinal losers or the remaining four qualifiers will progress to the bronze medal ride, while the semifinal winners ride off for gold.
The New Zealand sprint combination of Katie Schofield and Natasha Hansen just missed out on World Cup medal ride for the first time, clocking 33.859s in the 500m qualifying, which was 23/100ths of a second behind fourth qualifier Canada. It was their best World Cup finish, with Hansen impressing with the third fastest second lap in 14.33s, only bettered by riders from top ranked China and Russia.
The men’s team pursuit finished ninth fastest to miss out on the chance of a second ride. The quartet of Dylan Kennett, Luke Mudgway, Marc Ryan and 17 year old newcomer Tom Sexton clocked 4:07.033 with Australia leading the way in 4:00.947. They had a solid start to be through the first 1000m in 1:05 and followed with two sub-60 second kilometres, but the final 1000m in 1:02 saw them edged out of a top eight qualifying spot. Luke Mudgway later returned to finish a brilliant third in the points race, won by Frenchman Benjamin Thomas.
Thomas was unstoppable as the Frenchman was the only rider to gain a lap, and on top of that he also tallied up a handsome number of sprint points to finish ten points clear of Spain’s Julio Alberto Amores Palacios. But the fight between Palacios and Mudgway was a fierce one, with just two points separating them. Mudgway performed solidly in the sprints from the second sprint onwards, collecting 21 points in all, including winning the fourth and seventh sprints. He finished ahead of Jasper De Buyst of Belgium.
“The women’s team pursuit was a solid ride and well deserved for a very young combination, while the men’s team pursuit was also solid although a couple of seconds off the pace that they were capable of,” said Cycling New Zealand head coach Dayle Cheatley. “But we have blooded some very young riders and Tom Sexton was in a big personal best ride in the team pursuit today.”
It proved a disappointment for the men’s team sprint combination of Matt Archibald, Jeremy Presbury and Zac Williams who were relegated after an incorrect change in their heat. However their time of 45.121s would not have seen them into a medal ride with Great Britain leading the way in 43.798. “The women’s team sprint continue to improve although the men made a mistake in their change which was disappointing,” Cheatley commented.
The second day will see Aaron Gate and Edmondston in the start of the omnium competition, Williams in the men sprint, Hansen in the keirin and the women’s team pursuit in action.
Men 4000m team pursuit, qualifying: Australia 4:00.947, 1; Denmark 4:02.264, 2; Italy 4:02.535, 3. Also: New Zealand (Dylan Kennett, Luke Mudway, Marc Ryan, Tom Sexton) 4:07.033, 9.
Women 4000m team pursuit qualifying: Great Britain 4:19.369, 1; USA 4:23.696, 2; Canada 4:23.790, 3. Also: New Zealand (Holly Edmondston, Bryony Botha, Michaela Drummond, Philippa Sutton) 4:31.287, 5.
Women 500m team sprint qualifying: Russia 32.839, 1; Great Britain 33.496, 2; Spain 33.538, 3. Also: New Zealand (Natasha Hansen, Katie Schofield) 33.859, 5.
Men 750m team sprint qualifying: Great Britain 43.798, 1; Poland 43.886, 2; Russia 43.963, 3. Also: New Zealand (Matt Archibald, Jeremy Presbury, Zac Williams) relegated, 17.
Category 1, men scratch: Benjamin Thomas (FRA) 1, Xavier Canellas (ESP) 2, Jordan Parra Arias (COL) 3. Also: Campbell Stewart (NZL) 10.
Men Points race: Thomas 30 points, 1; Julio Amores Palacios (ESP) 23, 2; Luke Mudgway 21, 3.
Women scratch: Marina Scmayankova (BLK) 1, Laura Trott (GBR) 2, Qianyu Yang (HKG) 3. Also: Nina Wollaston (NZL) 15.