A national record from Natasha Hansen and Olivia Podmore saw them take the World Cup title in the women’s team sprint ahead of Poland in a fascinating battle.  In the men’s race it was bronze for Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins after a surprise tactical change.

The women’s team sprint finals saw Gazprom-Rusvelo and Australia go for bronze, with Poland and New Zealand taking on the gold medal ride.  Olivia Podmore and Natasha Hansen had been very impressive across the first two rides and it was the, – not the Kiwi trio of Mitchell, Webster and Dawkins – who would take on the gold medal.

Stephanie Morton and Caitlin Ward of Australia were against Daria Shmeleva and Ekatarina Rogovaya for the bronze medal.  European champions against one of the two world champions and it was the European champions who got off to a flying start and were able to hold on to their advantage and secure bronze.

In the gold medal duel Poland’s Ursula Los and Marlena Karwacka – who’d produced the fastest time in the first round – went up against Podmore and Hansen.  Podmore gritted and grimaced through the first revolutions but it was Poland who were slightly ahead after the first half a lap; but by the end of the first lap the gap was closing and Natasha Hansen took over with the gap at just 0.076 seconds.

Over the second lap the gap continued to close and at the finish line Hansen brought it back to stop the clock in 32.877 seconds; a near dead heat that would have everyone waiting to see that eventually Hansen and Podmore had done enough to take the win.  In doing so they had smashed the previous national record of 33.115 seconds.

Bronze for men as Dawkins leads off

The men’s team sprint bronze final pitted Trinidad and Tobago’s Njisane Phillip, Keron Bramble and Nicholas Paul against Mitchell, Webster and Dawkins; with the Kiwi trio making a change and putting Dawkins in as the starter of the trio.

Dawkins starting was a surprise move, and it was the opposition that started the faster to go through the first lap 0.604 seconds up on New Zealand.  Ethan Mitchell took over on the second lap and brought the gap back impressively to set up Sam Webster with just a 0.278 second deficit.

Webster gritted his teeth and with half a lap to go it was a near dead heat with Trinidad and Tobago desperately holding on; as Webster piled on the pace.  Webster finally stopped the clock with the crowd right behind him to stop the clock in 43.367 seconds; 0.185 seconds up on Trinidad and Tobago and securing the bronze medal.

So to the gold medal battle between Poland and Japan.  The Japanese trio of Kazuki Amagai, Yudai Nitta, Tomohira Fukaya went up against Poland’s Maciej Bielecki, Mateusz Rudiyk and Patryk Rajkowski.  Poland were fastest through the first lap but just over 0.1 seconds faster than Japan.  The second lap was similarly close but it was Japan’s final lap that turned the tables in emphatic fashion as they crossed the line in 42.79 seconds, 0.496 seconds faster than Poland.

Photo: Guy Swarbrick

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