New Zealand’s young talent continued to impress on the second day of the final UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Hong Kong today. The women’s team pursuit that includes three teenagers has finished fifth in the women’s team pursuit, while sprinters Zac Williams and Natasha Hansen were fourth and ninth respectively.
The quartet of Bryony Botha 18, newcomers Michaela Drummond 17 and Nina Wollaston 19 along with the experience of Waikato’s Philippa Sutton beat Germany in the ride for fifth clocking 4:30.403, their fastest of the week. They were ahead by more than a second after the first kilometre and continued to edge further ahead throughout in an encouraging performance.
Earlier they beat Poland in the second round ride in 4:31.432 in a dominating display. With Great Britain and Canada winning their semifinals, the Kiwi quartet was third fastest among the other six qualifiers, to earn a ride off for fifth place. Canada, the in-form nation in the World Cup, edged Great Britain for the gold medal.
Twenty-year-old Zac Williams was outstanding throughout the keirin competition, edged out of a spot in his first World Cup podium by 2/100ths of a second. He was second in his opening heat in the keirin competition and then finished a close second to Japan’s Yuta Wakimoto in the semifinal to qualify for his first World Cup final. Williams sprinted strongly from the back in the final but was a fraction away from the podium in fourth place behind Korea’s Chaebin Im.
Natasha Hansen finished ninth overall in a high quality women’s sprint competition, her best at a World Cup competition. She clocked 11.107 to be seventh fastest in qualifying, as she edges closer to going under the 11 second barrier at sea level. The 26 year old beat double world champion Rebecca James (GBR) in the first round but was edged by Australian star Kaarle McCulloch in the round of eight, and was pipped in the final sprint in the repechage to miss out on the quarterfinals.