The New Zealand Para Cycling Team could not have asked for a better result as the new tandem pairing of Rio 2016 Paralympians Emma Foy and Hannah van Kampen showed unbeatable form to win gold and the World Champion title in the fastest time recorded at sea level for the Women’s B 3km Individual Pursuit. This is the fourth time Foy has won this world title and worn the rainbow jersey having done so with sighted pilot Laura Thompson in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Stu MacDonald (Para Cycling Head Performance Coach) said: “Today has been huge for the team starting with waking up to the horrendous news of the tragic events in Christchurch. Our thoughts and hearts are with everyone at home. As a team we came together and committed to focussing on performing to our absolute best.”
He continued: “Emma and Hannah have trained so hard to be the best bike riders they can be. Today that was to be world champions. With Emma returning to Para cycling less than 12 months ago after a break following the Rio 2016 Paralympics this was an outstanding result. Their qualifying ride this morning was the fastest time at sea level, they then backed this up with the world championship winning ride in the final.”
The tandem pairing showed huge resilience today as considerable and ongoing delays occurred in the lead up to the final. Regardless, Foy and Van Kampen came out with a strong start and produced some fast splits continually increasing their lead throughout the race. The New Zealand tandem finished in a blistering time of 03:25.787. Silver went to Belgium, while bronze went to Great Britain.
Sarah Ellington produced a solid result in the Women’s 500m Time Trial C2. The 9th place in her non favoured event will ensure she is focussed ahead of the scratch race tomorrow.
Nicole Murray competed in the second event of the Women’s Omnium, her first Flying 200m race. She rode well and was rewarded with a 5th place. This means Murray is now placed 6th overall in the Women’s Omnium with the individual pursuit and scratch races still to ride. The Omnium is a test event at the UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships this year.
Day 3 saw all 12 members of the New Zealand Para Cycling Team on the track competing at the UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships. The highlight of the day was undoubtably Emma Foy and Hannah van Kampen returning to the podium following the gold medal and world champion title yesterday, this time the tandem pairing proudly won bronze in the Women’s B 1km Individual Pursuit.
Van Kampen said: “Winning 2 medals here at the World Championships has exceeded our expectations. We came in definitely looking for a win in the Individual Pursuit but to come away with a bronze in the Time Trial is pretty awesome as we are more focussed on endurance as in the 3km Individual Pursuit.”
She continued: ““I think we have massive room for improvement, we have only been riding together during this season. It is still really new and we are continuing to learn a lot. There’s so much in training that we have not done yet but would like to. Even in the Time Trial there are still some technical aspects we can look to improve on so looking forward to getting stuck in.”
Foy said: “The individual pursuit is definitely our favoured event. It comes with a lot of pressure that we put on ourselves to perform to our best and it is race where you must be composed and ride to a schedule that we decide before the race. Whereas the Time Trial is a chance to absolutely smash it and not have to think too hard really.”
She continued: “For us we will return to New Zealand and do a bit of planning to see how the next year looks for us, which will start off with re-entry into road cycling and endurance training. In terms of events, we have National Road Cycling Championships in May and a UCI Para Cycling Road World Cup not too far after that. So that will be a good start to the road Para cycling season.”
International debutants and men’s tandem pairing of Mitch Wilson and Jackson Ogle had an outstanding start to their World Championships producing a personal best time 01:03.471 in the Men’s 1km Time Trial. Personal best times were also achieved by women’s tandem of Amanda Cameron and Nina Wollaston. While Nick Blincoe also reached a milestone today going under 5.10 in the Men’s 4km Individual Pursuit C4.
Stu MacDonald (Para Cycling Head Performance Coach) said: “It was great to see the entire team competing today. It started well with the Women’s C4-C5 Individual Pursuit qualification race. Nicole Murray raced well in this event as it was very fast and she took 6 seconds off her time from National Track Championships in February, so heading in the right direction. Just like Nicole, Kate Horan rode a solid race coming back from recent illness. Nick Blincoe rode a personal best and for the first time rode under 5.10 so mission accomplished for Nick. Emma and Hannah backed up really well from yesterday to win a bronze. It was a really close race just edging out tandems from Australia and Belgium. Emma and Hannah just keep getting faster and are currently riding times we have not seen a New Zealand tandem produce previously. Fellow teammates and tandem Amanda Cameron and Nina Wollaston finished the event with a personal best time of 01:10.20 in the Time Trial.”
He continued: “Our men’s tandem of Mitch Wilson and Jackson Ogle made their international debut today clocking up a personal best time in the Men’s 1km Time Trial and gained great experience against some of the best in the world. Kate, Nicole, Anna Taylor, Sarah Ellington and Nikita Howarth all rode the scratch race for the first time so great experience riding in a bunch however this is not an event that is on the competition schedule for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games so this experience provided the opportunity for our riders to develop their technical skills overall.”