The New Zealand cycling selectors face a raft of riches after strong performances at the Vantage national track championships in Cambridge today.
The selectors face a tough task to decide on their combinations for the upcoming world championships in London, with the team to be named on Monday.
The final day at the Avantidrome focussed on team racing with Mid-South Canterbury and Waikato-Bay of Plenty prevailing in the men’s and women’s team pursuits respectively.
Natasha Hansen sealed an outstanding week with her fourth national title, joining with Stephan Mckenzie to win the women’s team sprint, with fellow Southland team of Matt Archibald, Jeremy Presbury and Ben Stewart claiming the men’s team sprint.
There were two exhibition rides by the men’s team sprint combination of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins and the women’s team pursuit quartet of Rushlee Buchanan, Georgia Williams, Jaime Nielsen and Lauren Ellis.
Sprint coach Anthony Peden gave a thumbs-up for his men’s team pursuit and for the development in both Hansen and the younger sprinters evolving.
“We went 43.6 and 43.7 in two rides today. That is faster than we have ever gone three weeks out from a world championship, so you have to be happy with that,” Peden said.
“They have trained through and had a gym session today. We will be under 43 at the worlds and hopefully that will mean we will be there or thereabouts.
“Natasha has taken a step up this week, not just winning but focussing on the quality of her performances. She is producing times that will be competitive at the world championships.
“And some of the young sprinters are really showing up which is exciting for the future.”
In an event noted for its smooth precision, the men’s 4000m team pursuit final was chaotic excitement.
Veteran Jason Allen gave Mid-South Canterbury a 1.3 second lead before he exited after less than three of the 16 laps, but the strength of world champions Dylan Kennett, and Marc Ryan along with double Olympic medallist Hayden Roulston pushed the southerners to a 2.9 second buffer at the 3km mark.
Then the wheels began to wobble as Piet Bulling wound up his Southland crew who closed the gap ti within half a second into the final lap before they too lost shape.
Mid-South Canterbury held on to win in a superb 4:03.427 with Southland 0.7s back.
“We had a plan from the start. This morning we rode to qualify and changed things tonight so we could go faster,” Ryan said.
“We know there’s a lot at stake on selection but in reality a lot of that is set out in our training before you come to these events.
“We are riding a lot different times and in different positions than we do at training. We are travelling at half a second a lap quicker in the team for the worlds so it makes a huge difference in how you ride and how you deliver.
“ It won’t be an easy job for the coaches because of the depth we have. Everyone has come in at different stages and there’s still three weeks to go to worlds so a lot cam still happen. It is in their hands.”
Someone who has taken things in her own hands is Hansen in her clean sweep of all four sprint titles, two national records and a significance confidence boost.
“It has been quite a few years since I’ve managed to win four national titles. I am happy with all the hard work I’ve done in the last year and all the support I’ve had,” Hansen said.
“With the worlds coming up I have been trying to achieve times that will give me confidence racing there. It has not been just about winning here but producing world class performances.
“The only way I can get better is to compare my times with the best in the world. It has been motivation to check where I am and chase down some of the times of the best in the world.”
Day 4, results:
Women 4000m team pursuit qualifying: Waikato BOP (Bryony Botha, Madison Farrant, Philippa Sutton, Racquel Sheath) 4.38.892, 2; Auckland (Helen Baillie-Strong, Nina Wollaston, Holly White, Madeleine Park) 4.43.704, 2; Southland (Kirstie James, Laura Thompson, Ellesse Andrews, Makayla Smith) 4.44.656, 3; WCNI (Michaela Drummond, Emily Shearman, Libby Arbuckle, Simone Davie) 4.54.319, 4. Gold medal ride: Waikato BOP 4.36.522, 1; Auckland4.39.640, 2. Bronze medal ride: Southland 3, WCNI 4 (overlap)
Men 4000m team pursuit qualifying: Southland (Pieter Bulling, Nick Kergozou, Cameron Karwowski, Josh Haggerty) 4.06.522, 1; Mid South Canterbury (Hayden Roulston, Marc Ryan, Dylan Kennett, Jason Allan) 4.09.347, 2; Canterbury (Alex Frame, Max Jones, Hugo Jones, Josh Scott) 4.17.079, 3; Waikato BOP (Ryan Wills, Nathan Bunn, Cam Riches, Jared Gray) 4.20.618, 4. Gold medal ride: Mid South Canterbury 4.03.427, 1; Southland 1 4.04.125, 2. Bronze medal ride: Canterbury 3, Waikato BOP 4 (overlap)
Women 500m team spring qualifying: Southland (Natasha Hansen, Stephanie McKenzie) 34.666, 1; Canterbury (Olivia Podmore, Gemma Payne) 36.112, 2; Composite (Hannah Bayard, Katie Schofield) 36.595, 3; Waikato BOP (Jaymie King, Tess Young) 37.334, 4. Gold medal ride: Southland 34.472, 1; Canterbury 36.248, 2. Bronze medal ride: Waikato BOP 37.156, 4;
Men 750m team sprint qualifying: Southland (Matt Archibald, Jeremy Presbury, Ben Stewart) 45.170, 1; WCNI (Simon van Velthooven, James Cuff, Jordan Castle) 46.200, 2; Composite (Sam Dakin, Callum Saunders, Lewis Eccles) 46.450, 3. Gold medal ride: Southland 44.935, 1; WCNI 46.008, 2. Bronze medal ride:Composite 46.712, 3; Canterbury 48.685, 4.
Women 250m time trial: Emma Cumming (Southland) 19.898, 1; Nicole Shields (Southland) 21.324, 2; Olivia Ray (Auckland) 21.586, 3.
Men 250m time trial: Bradly Knipe (Southland) 18.509, 1; Hamish Beadle (Southland) 19.234, 2; Mitchell Morris (Southland) 19.308, 3.
Women 500m team sprint qualifying: Emma Cumming, Ellesse Andrews (Southland) 35.452, 1; Emily Shearman, Libby Arbuckle (West Coast North Island) 37.419, 2; Kate Smith, Olivia Reiber (Canterbury) 37.993, 3; Olivia Ray, Georgia Danford (Auckland) 38.248, 4. Gold medal ride: Southland 35.280, 1; West Coast North Island 37.429, 2. Bronze medal ride:Auckland 37.411, 3; Canterbury 37.892, 3.
Men 750m team spring qualifying: Bradly Knipe, Hamish Beadle, Mitchell Morris (Southland) 46.97, 1; Campbell Stewart, Cody Simpson, Carne Groube (West Coast North Island) 48.64, 2; Hugo Jones, Matt Trenchard, Jackson Ogle (Canterbury) 48.91, 3; Chris Maddren, Laurence Kerby, Bradley Leitch (Auckland) 49.5, 4. Gold medal ride: Southland 46.715, 1; WCNI 48.462, 2. Bronze medal ride: Canterbury 49.461, 1; Auckland 49.751, 4.
Women C1 – C5 3000m individual pursuit final: Fiona Southorn (Northland) 1, Nicole Murrary (Waikato BOP) 2.
Men C1 – C3 3000m individual pursuit final: Devon Rogers (Auckland) 4.24.403, 1.
Men C4 – C5 4000m individual pursuit final: Byron Raubenheimer (Auckland) 1, Nick Blincoe (Auckland) 2.
Men tandem 4000m individual pursuit: Mitchell Wilson, Regan Sheath, 5.04.249