Seven podium placings without getting to the top step was the lot for the Vantage New Zealand team on the final day of the Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Adelaide.
The championships, which offered qualifying points for the world championships and ultimately the Tokyo Olympics, mark the beginning of the international season, with the New Zealand team blooding a number of developing riders with some proven elites.
Best in the elite performers was sprinter Natasha Hansen who finished runner-up to current world sprint silver medallist Stephanie Morton in the individual sprint final. The New Zealander beat Morton’s world champion team sprint partner Kaarle McCulloch in the deciding third ride of an exciting semifinal.
“I was happy with today. I had a good qualifying in the morning. I didn’t have the greatest races last night in the keirin so I was pleased to come back tonight and redeem myself,” Hansen said. “The first race against McCulloch I messed up my timing but I thought I could have got her, so it was good to really execute the next two rides.
“Steph is so strong so I was trying the best tactics to upset her but she was too strong at the moment.”
The other elite podium placing went to Subway Performance Hub rider Sam Dakin who was third in the keirin final, won by world sprint champion Matthew Glaetzer (AUS). Dakin won his repechage to earn a start in the semifinal where he was second behind Glaetzer and he produced another strong ride in the final, where teammate Sam Webster was fifth.
Kiwi pairings finished on the podium in both women’s and men’s Madison races. World championship omnium bronze medallist, Rushlee Buchanan, just returned from her road season, paired with Michaela Drummond to finish third only six points behind the winners, while Aaron Wyllie and Tom Sexton were second in the men’s race.
Canterbury’s Laurence Pithie completed an outstanding championship with a silver medal on countback in the junior points race and third in the scratch race after winning the individual pursuit earlier in the meet. Pithie recovered from a crash that cost him any chance of winning the omnium on day three but bounced back despite battling a sore knee.
“I went hard early and won the first sprint and was second in the next which put me in good stead. I missed the sprints through the mid-part of the race which put me back.
“The final sprint was double points so I had to be up there but could only get fourth which left me on the same points as the winner so I had to be second on countback.
“I was pleased to bounce back again to have a strong result in the scratch for what has been a good championship.”
Southland’s Tyla Green, who won the junior keirin on day three, finished fourth in the individual sprint. She completed an excellent international debut as a first-year junior, winning her quarterfinal but losing to top qualifier Eliza Bennett in the semifinal, and the ride-off for bronze.
Subway Performance Hub riders Emily Paterson (Southland) and Eva Parkinson (Waikato-BOP) combined to finish second in the junior women’s Madison, seven points from the winners.
The Vantage Elite New Zealand team will move on to the start of the Tissot UCI World Cup competition over the next two weekends in France and Canada.
Women sprint qualifying: Stephanie Morton (AUS) 10.593, 1; Kaarle McCulloch (AUS) 2, Natasha Hansen (NZL) 3, Emma Cumming (NZL) 4, Olivia Podmore (NZL) 5. Round 1: Hansen bt Selina Ho (AUS), Cumming bt Felice Beitzel (AUS), Podmore bt King, Holly Takos (AUS) bt Tess Young (NZL). Semifinal: Morton bt Podmore, Hansen bt McCulloch. Final: Morton bt Hansen. 3rd-4th: McCulloch bt Podmore.
Men Keirin, heat 1: Jackson Ogle (NZL) 2, Sam Dakin (NZL) 4, Sam Webster (NZL) 5, Sam Spencer (NZL) 7. Heat 2: Eddie Dawkins (NZL) 3, Zac Williams (NZL) 5. Heat 3: Jordan Castle (NZL0 3, Callum Saunders (NZL) 4. Heat 4: Bradly Knipe (NZL) 1. Repechage heat 1: Spencer 5. Heat 2: Williams 1, Saunders 2, Dawkins 3. Heat 3: Webster 1, Castle 2, Blake Ryan (AUS) 3. Heat 4: Dakin 1, Jamie Green (AUS) 2, Max Housden (AUS) 3. Semifinal Heat 1: Matthew Glaetzer (AUS) 1, Dakin 2, Thomas Clarke (AUS) 3. Heat 2: Jacob Schmid (AUS) 1, Patrick Constable (AUS) 2, Webster 3. Final: Glaetzer 1, Schmid 2, Dakin 3. Also: Webster 5.
Women Madison (30km): Stewart/Baker (AUS) 35 points, 1; Ankudinoff/Edmondson (AUS) 32, 2; Buchanan/Drummond (NZL) 29, 3.
Men Madison (40km): Scott/Porter (AUS) 47 points, 1; Wyllie/Sexton (NZL) 35, 2; Slattery/Leahy (AUS) 31, 3
Women Sprint qualifying: Eliza Bennett (AUS) 11.935, 1; Heather May (AUS) 2, Tia Slama (AUS) 3. Also: Tyla Green (NZL) 4, Jennifer Brown (NZL) 5. Quarterfinal: Green bt Brown. Semifinals: Bennett bt Green, May bt Slama. Final: May bt Bennett. 3rd-4th: Slama bt Green.
Men Keirin heat 1: Angus Claasen (NZL) 4, Patrick Clancy (NZL) 5. Heat 2: Sam Upton (NZL) 3, Cameron Manley (NZL) 5. Final: Sam Gallagher (AUS) 1, Declan Key (AUS) 2, John Trovas (AUS) 3. Also: Upton 6.
Men Points: Kurt Eather (AUS) 12 points, 1; Laurence Pithie (NZL) 12, 2; Alastair MacKellar (AUS) 9, 3.
Women Madison (15km): Jones/Robbards (AUS) 27 points, 1; Parkinson/Paterson (NZL) 20, 2; Sibley/Chung-Orr (AUS) 14, 3; Hodges/Haines (NZL) 13, 4.
Men Scratch (10km): Kurt Eather (AUS) 1, Graeme Frislee (AUS) 2, Laurence Pithie (NZL) 3. Also: Reuben Webster (NZL) 4.