New Zealand’s world champion team sprint trio dominated proceedings on the second day of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Canada.  After qualifying fastest on the first day, they were quickest in winning the second round in 43.916s, reverting to their proven formula with Ethan Mitchell starting. They drew Great Britain in the final, with the Vantage Elite Team trio improving again to win the final in 43.336s, more than half a second clear.

Great Britain were level with the Kiwis after the first lap, with Sam Webster opening a 0.2s advantage in the man-two position, while Eddie Dawkins powered home in the anchor leg nearly half a second faster than his opponent for an emphatic win.

Eddie Dawkins celebrates another fine job well done by the team sprint trio, photo Rob Jones

The women’s team pursuit earned the silver medal after the host Canadian team turned up the heat in the 4000m final. Earlier the Kiwis were the fastest in the first round in 4:25.012, just 0.3s faster than the Canadians, with the pair qualifying for the gold medal ride.  New Zealand, resting Racquel Sheath to focus on the omnium, were on schedule at the 2000m mark. While they dropped in the third kilometre, Canada, boosted with two fresh riders including the outstanding Allison Beveridge, turned up the heat. They had a sizeable advantage at the 3000m mark and caught the Kiwis just before the finish.  However New Zealand gained invaluable ranking points for their second placing as they look forward to next week’s World Cup in Chile.

Natasha Hansen, who returned from injury to impress at the recent Oceania Championship, recorded 11.005s in the individual sprint qualifying. Her time was the third fastest, her highest qualifying place in a world cup, behind Olympic and world champion Kristina Vogel (GER).  Hansen won through to the bronze medal ride, ultimately pipped by just 9/100ths of a second in the deciding third ride against Laurine van Riessen (NED) to settle for fourth place, with Vogel winning the final in two straight rides.

Natasha Hansen produced an exceptional ride in qualifying for the women’s sprint, photo Rob Jones

Sheath finished eighth overall in the women’s omnium competition. She placed fifth in the scratch race, ninth in the tempo, fifth in the elimination and 11th in the points with Japan’s Yumi Kajihara taking the overall honours from Beveridge.

In today’s final day of competition, New Zealand compete in the second round of the women’s team sprint, the second round of the men’s team pursuit, Webster and Mitchell compete in the men’s sprint, Campbell Stewart rides in the omnium, Hansen returns for the keirin while Sheath and Drummond compete in the madison.

The final sadly didn’t go Hansen’s way in a close run final ride, photo Rob Jones

Day 2 results:

Men Team Sprint Gold Medal: New Zealand (Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins) 43.336s, 1; Great Britain 43.992, 2. Bronze medal: Czech Republic 44.094, 3; France 44.270, 4. Round 1: New Zealand 43.916, 1; Great Britain 44.018, 2.

Women 4000m team pursuit round 1: New Zealand (Rushlee Buchanan, Bryony Botha, Kirstie James, Michaela Drummond) 4:25.012 bt France. Canada 4:25.309 bt Japan. Gold medal: Canada 1 New Zealand (Buchanan, Botha, James, Drummond) 2 (OVL). Bronze medal: France 3:32.466, 3; Japan 3:35.550, 4.

Women sprint, qualifying: Kristina Vogel (GER) 10.796, 1; Shane Braspennincx (NED) 10.953, 2; Natasha Hansen (NZL) 11.005, 3. Also: Emma Cumming (NZL) 11.256, 12.

Round 1: Cumming lost to Julita Jagodzinska (POL); Hansen bye; Round 2: Hansen btKayono Maeda (JPN); Round 3: Hansen bt Yuli Verdugo (MEX) 2-0. Gold medal: Vogel bt Braspennincx 2-0. Bronze medal: Laurine van Riessen (NED) bt Hansen 2-1.

Women omnium final: Yumi Kajihara (JPN) 154 points, 1; Allison Beveridge (CAN) 120, 2; Eleanor Dickinson (GBR) 118, 3. Also: Racquel Sheath (NZL) 91, 8.

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