The Vantage New Zealand women’s team pursuit combination scored their second medal in as many weeks to highlight day two of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Milton, Canada today. The women won the bronze medal after a tough medal match against Germany, getting home in the 4000m ride with just 0.4 seconds separating the two teams.
The women’s team sprint pairing of Emma Cumming and Natasha Hansen finished sixth to back up their performance from Paris last week. The men’s team sprint trio had to settle for fourth placing in a competition dominated by the in-form Dutch riders, while the men’s team pursuit finished eighth.
The women’s team pursuit had a tight battle with Italy in the semifinal clash, edged by 0.2s in an incredibly close encounter. The Italians were up by 0.4 seconds at the midway point, and only 0.3s with 1000m remaining. It proved only a blink of the eye at the finish, with the Kiwis down to three riders for the final 2000m.
It earned them a bronze medal ride which also proved a battle royale. The Kiwi quartet, with Holly Edmondston coming into the line-up after being ill this week, got ahead by 0.1s at the halfway point with nothing separating the two teams at the 3000m mark. However, the New Zealanders dug deep with a closing 1:03.309 effort to grab third in 4:19.247 with Germany half a second behind.
Great Britain proved the class of the contest to win the gold medal in 4:18.138 from Italy with the Kiwis posting the second fastest time overall.
“Overall we are happy,” said Kirstie James. “We tried some new things here, bringing in a new rider in Ellesse Andrews who did well. In the final we went out to execute the first 2kms on a schedule and race the last 2k.
“One of our riders (Holly Edmondston) had some flu on the flight over and recovered enough to ride the final. We brought in Ellesse and threw her in the deep end, riding at a pace she had not been before but she handled it pretty well.
“In the last six races, we have had different small things thrown at us to cope with but we have worked well on our communication during the ride which has meant we have been able to recover when we are down to three riders and finish well.”
The women’s team sprint was locked in a packed qualifying with only 0.6 seconds separating third fastest to 10th, with the Kiwi pair seventh.
They improved with a 32.289 effort for the 500m time trial in the first round and pushed them to sixth overall with Australia and Germany setting the pace.
There was continued improvement from Hansen who was the fourth fastest second wheel rider with a 14.059 effort.
The team sprint combination of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins qualified fourth fastest in 43.692s, with just 0.1s separating the top four teams. They lowered this to 43.620 to edge perennial rivals Australia in the first round, which put them into the bronze medal ride against Great Britain, with two Dutch teams riding for the gold.
The British trio including Olympic champion Jason Kenny, were too strong coming off their domestic season, to better the Kiwis who now have a solid performance on the board after missing out due to a mechanical fault in Paris.
“I am happy with the performance of the ladies. Good legs from both of them which makes it good results on the track,” said new national sprint coach, René Wolff.
“For the boys I am happy to get three rides done, all in a decent time under 44 seconds. Unfortunately, it was fourth which is the chocolate medal. At least we have three rides done and a good way to start as a team to develop as the other tournaments go.”
The men’s team pursuit, who qualified sixth fastest, had a disappointing ride in their first round with their 4:00.292 effort meaning they were unable to get into the medal round. They were within 0.2s of Germany at the 3000m mark but faded over the final 1000m.
Denmark went on to win for the second time in a slick 3:53.499 from the British second team, with their top team taking the bronze with New Zealand eighth.
Tomorrow attention turns to Cumming and Hansen in the individual sprint, Dawkins in the men’s keirin, Campbell Stewart in the men’s omnium and Andrews with Botha in the Madison.
Women team sprint, qualifying: Australia 32.693, 1; Russia 32.937, 2; Netherlands 33.329, 3; Germany 33.348, 4. Also: New Zealand (Emma Cumming, Natasha Hansen) 33.637, 7. Round 1: Germany 32.782 bt Ukraine 33.090; Netherlands 33.229 bt Poland 33.494; Russia 32.785 bt New Zealand 33.289 ; Australia 32.557 bt France 33.664. Bronze Medal: Russia 32.692, 3; Netherlands 33.118, 4. Gold medal: Australia 32.456, 1; Germany 32.693, 2.
Women team pursuit, first round: Great Britain 4:16.976, 1; Germany 4:20.540, 2; Italy 4:19.626, 1; New Zealand (Rushlee Buchanan, Ellesse Andrews, Bryony Botha, Kirstie James) 4:19.851, 2. Bronze medal: New Zealand (Buchanan, Holly Edmondston, Botha, James) 4:19.247, 3; Germany 4:19.668, 4. Gold medal: Great Britain 4:18.138, 1; Italy 4:21.936, 2.
Men, team sprint, qualifying: Netherlands 43.583, 1; Netherlands No 2, 43.650, 2; Great Britain 43.675, 3; New Zealand (Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins) 43.692, 4. Round 1: New Zealand 43.620 bt Australia 43.689; Great Britain 43.360 bt France 43.828; Netherlands No 2 43.251 bt Poland 44.250; Netherlands 42.904 bt Czech Republic 44.570. Bronze medal: Great Britain 43.126, 3; New Zealand 43.869, 4. Gold medal: Netherlands 42.828, 1; Netherlands No 2, 43.306, 2.
Men team pursuit, first round: France 3:55.531 bt Belgium 3:57.037; Germany 3:56.546 bt New Zealand (Regan Gough, Jordan Kerby, Harry Waine, Campbell Stewart) 4:00.292; Denmark 3:52.785 bt Great Britain 3:55.741; Great Britain No 2 3:55.022 bt Canada 3:56.352. Gold medal: Denmark 3:53.499, 1; Great Britain No 2 3:56.699, 2. Bronze medal: Great Britain 3:54.134, 3; France 3:56.156, 4. Also: New Zealand 8.