Christchurch teenager Laurence Pithie completed a dream week with his second Rainbow Jersey at the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Germany.
Pithie paired with Taupo’s Kiaan Watts to dominate the two-rider madison on the final day of the championships that attracted 350 riders from 40 nations to the Oderlandhalle Velodrome in Frankfurt-Oder, on the border of Germany and Poland.
The Christchurch Boys High School athlete added the madison to his individual omnium victory yesterday.
The small 11-strong New Zealand contingent under coaches Tim Carswell and Myron Simpson, finished with three gold medals and one silver. Pithie enjoyed two victories, along with the individual pursuit win by Ally Wollaston, who was also part of the women’s team pursuit that finished second to Italy by 0.007 seconds.
Today’s performance from Pithie and Watts was emphatic, finishing with 49 points ahead of Germany on 35 and France on 27 for the 30km race where no team was able to put a lap on the field. The kiwi pair won the final three sprints to seal the win.
“Laurence missed the change with one and a half laps to go and just put his head down and went for it,” said Simpson.
“They were in command throughout. Kiaan rode a brilliant tactical race and Laurence was so committed. They rode perfectly together and shared the load. They were very impressive.”
It marked an outstanding campaign for Pithie, a first-year junior who only recently turned 17 years old and will qualify for the junior worlds again next year.
“He is good on the track and the road and just has that X-factor for racing. He will continue on a successful pathway in this sport for sure.”
Simpson said it had proved an excellent campaign for the New Zealand team.
“They are a superb bunch, who get on with each other and just got on with the job, without any dramas and were an outstanding group.
“To get three golds medals is pretty special, considering we were 7/1000ths of a second from a fourth gold medal and we had Finn Fisher-Black out injured, who is the current world record holder in the pursuit.”
Waikato’s Olivia King, an endurance rider, impressed in the keirin sprint competition today, winning her first round and semifinal. However, she slipped a foot out of her pedal during the final lap of the final that cost her a chance of a medal.
Teammate Emily Paterson missed out on the semifinal in the same event.
Southland’s Conor Shearing rode an impressive 1:02.693 for the 1000m time trial to finish fifth, only 0.6sec off a medal, with Keegan Hornblow 18th.
The women’s madison combination was not so fortunate with Eva Parkinson not recovered from illness which forced her and world champion Wollaston to withdraw early in the race.
Overall New Zealand results:
Gold: Ally Wollaston (individual pursuit), Laurence Pithie (omnium) Pithie and Kiaan Watts (madison).
Silver: Women team pursuit.
Other top-10 finishes: Men team pursuit (4th), Conor Shearing (1000m time trial) 5th, Keegan Hornblow (individual pursuit) 9th, Kiaan Watts (scratch) 9th, Mckenzie Milne (individual pursuit) 7th, Olivia King (500m time trial) 10th.