New Zealand’s women have won the bronze medal in the team pursuit, and a dramatic bronze at that.  The quartet of Racquel Sheath, Jaime Nielsen, Kirstie James and Rushlee Buchanan beat the Italian team after coming from behind in the last kilometre.

The final event of day 2 saw the medal matches for the women’s team pursuit.  New Zealand opted for a change to their line up as Michaela Drummond made way for Kirstie James who rode wheel, with Racquel Sheath leading the way alongside Jaime Nielsen with Rushlee Buchanan last rider.  Italy started quickly to build a second lead quickly.  New Zealand bided their time though conceding a 1 second deficit early on.

The gap stabilised on the run in to 2000m holding at the 1 second margin, as New Zealand began to fight back to 0.8 of a second at the 2250m mark.  Both teams maintained four riders as New Zealand steadily clawed a bit of time back, and put the pressure on Italy, but then Italy lost a rider  and that turned things around radically.

Suddenly Italy lost their momentum with a big gap opening up between each of the three remaining riders.  New Zealand joined together and pressed on with three riders still united; a testament to their ability to keep a cool head through the ride.  In a spectacular turn around of events New Zealand pressed on to take the bronze medal convincingly in a time of 4.21.778 mins.  Rushlee Buchanan punched the air as they crossed the line.

In the gold medal match it was a battle between two powerhouses as the USA took on the Australians.  Team USA were quickly in the driving seat but by the 2000m mark it was neck and neck as Australia had just about pegged back the entire advantage.  The USA still held a slender lead but lost a rider just as they had done in the first round after 2000m.  Australia proceeded to take the lead from there, as Chloe Dygert put in a massive turn for the USA to then wrestle the lead back by a very narrow margin.  

Australia maintained all four riders going into the final kilometre and it looked like it might be enough even as they lost a rider.  Australia took a 0.5 second lead into the last two laps but the USA were closing again and with one lap to go Dygert hit the front again to drag the USA to victory in fascinating fashion.

Results:

 

Bronze medal:
New Zealand Kirstie James 4.21.778 bt Italy Elisa Balsamo 4.26.562
  Racquel Sheath       Simona Frapporti  
  Rushlee Buchanan       Francasco Pattaro  
  Jaime Nielsen       Silvia Valsecchi  
 
Gold medal:
USA Kelly Catlin 4.19.413 bt Australia Amy Cure 4.19.830
  Chloe Dygert       Ashlee Ankudinoff  
  Kimberly Geist       Alexandra Manly  
  Jennifer Valente       Rebecca Wiasak  
Photo:  Guy Swarbrick

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