The crack men’s team sprinters are vowing to make amends on home turf in Cambridge after a rare failure in the opening round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Colombia today.
The trio of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins, normally meticulous in their execution, were out of sync on a windy day of qualifying action in Cali, where the velodrome is open on the sides. They could not get on to the wheel of the rider ahead, and with the swirling winds, the third man Eddie Dawkins was unable to latch back on to the draft from Webster ahead. Their time of 45.463 was a distant 16th with Mitchell believing that the team will be fired up to put things right when the second stop in the World Cup is staged in Cambridge in December.
“It was a tough day. We just didn’t gel from the start and in an event usually decided by 100ths of a second, things can go from good to bad quickly,” Mitchell said. He explained that the squad had come to Cali in excellent condition but had just misfired and were unable to form their usual cohesive unit. “With this Cali track open to the elements, and on a windy day it amplifies any mistakes and we were just untidy. It hurts for sure. It is our first bad ride in such a long time but already we know we have to analyse this and really put things right in Cambridge.” Germany went on to win the final from Poland with world champions France, like New Zealand, finishing down the order.
It proved a day of mishaps with an inexperienced women’s team pursuit combination on track for a sixth place in qualifying until two riders touched wheels, and after the resulting melee, they were unable to get back together, finishing 16th. By the time the two affected riders had recovered, the other two riders had opened a large gap and were unable to recover. “It was good learnings for them but equally I was sorry for them. Their target was top eight to get two more rides, and they were sixth fastest at the time of the mistake,” Cycling New Zealand head coach Dayle Cheatley said. Canada went on to dominate the final against USA.
It was better news for the young development men’s team pursuit, who finished eighth after three exhausting rides, with two personal bests in the process. This was achieved without a reserve, after Shane Archbold withdrew on the day of departure due to illness. The men’s team pursuit, that included young riders in Nick Kergozou and Luke Mudgway, were always going to struggle with the late withdrawal of Archbold, with three rides on the opening day.
They set a personal best 4:02.394s to be sixth fastest in qualifying in an excellent performance and went under that again but lost to a sub-four minute ride from Denmark to put them in the ride-off for seventh.
Aaron Gate, initially selected as an omnium specialist to assist in the team pursuit, was able to drop off early in the ride off with two exhausting days ahead with his main competition, with China claiming seventh and the kiwis eighth. Russia pipped Switzerland for the gold medal. “To get two best rides for a young and experienced group was quite impressive,’ said Cheatley. “It was a tough schedule with only four riders, and certainly Aaron Gate is in for a hard couple of days ahead now with the omnium.”
Earlier Katie Schofield and Natasha Hansen were 11th fastest in qualifying in the team sprint in 33.932s, headed by Australia’s Anna Meares and Stephanie Morton in 32.546, but they were upset by China in the gold medal ride.
Attention moves to the omnium competition tomorrow along with men’s keirin and women’s individual sprint.
Day 1 results:
Men’s team pursuit, qualifying: Russia 3:59.924, 1; Switzerland 4:00.330, 2; Australia 4:01.301, 3; Great Britain 4:01.507, 4. Also: New Zealand (Aaron Gate, Nick Kergozou, Cam Karwowski, Luke Mudgway) 4:02.394, 6.
First round: Denmark 3:59.890, 1; New Zealand 4:02.235, 2. Germany 4:00.598, 1; China 4:08.136, 2.Switzerland 3:58.998, 1; Australia 3:59.402, 2. Russia 4:00.629, 1; Great Britain 4:00.629, 2.
Gold medal ride: Russia 4:01.064, 1; Switzerland 4:01.972, 2. Bronze medal: Australia 4:01.060, 3; Denmark 4:02.827, 4. 5th place: Great Britain 5 bt Germany (overlap), 6; 7th place: China 7 bt New Zealand 8 (overlap).
Women Team Pursuit qualifying: Canada 4:21.359, 1; Great Britain 4:21.736, 2; USA 4:23.923, 3; China 4:31.400, 4. Also: New Zealand (Holly Edmondston, Alysha Keith, Liz Steel, Philippa Sutton) 4:42.927. 16.
Gold ride: Canada 4:20.139, 1; USA 4:25.826, 2. Bronze: Great Britain 4:26.662, 3; China 4:26.831, 4.
Men Team Sprint Qualifying: Germany 43.545, 1; Poland 43.781, 2; Netherlands 43:830, 3; Australia 43.897, 4. Also: New Zealand (Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins) 45.463, 16.
Gold ride: Germany 43.095, 1; Poland 43.748, 2. Bronze ride: Netherlands 43.106, 3; Australia 43.694, 4.
Women Team Sprint qualifying: Australia 32.546, 1; China 32.644, 2; Russia 32.728, 3; Germany 33.088, 4. Also New Zealand (Katie Schofield, Natasha Hansen) 33.932, 11.
Gold ride: China 32.11, 1; Australia 32.588, 2. Bronze: Russia 32.605, 3; Germany 32.906, 4.