New Zealand enjoyed a powerful opening day of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Canada. Both the men’s team sprint and team pursuit topped qualifying, with the team pursuit women second fastest and the women’s team sprint fifth quickest at Cycling Canada’s national velodrome in Milton, Ontario.
The Vantage Elite Team were in impressive form, led by the world champion men’s team sprint trio who were fastest in 43.873s in qualifying, with coach Anthony Peden again changing things up by placing Sam Webster in the lead-out position, swapping positions with Ethan Mitchell. They have plenty more to come in their first round and medal rounds tomorrow, having clocked a full second faster at the recent Oceania Championships in Cambridge.
The men’s team pursuit, with an average age under 20 years, showed their continued improvement when they were fastest in the 4000m qualifying in 3:59.588, their first time under the four minute barrier with this combination in competition. The quartet of Campbell, Stewart, Tom Sexton, Jared Gray and Nick Kergozou finished ahead of hosts Canada and will meet Germany in the second round for a chance to reach the gold medal ride.
The women’s team pursuit managed a 4:25.129 effort to be second fastest to hosts Canada and will meet France in the first round. The quartet of Rushlee Buchanan, Bryony Botha, Kirstie James and Racquel Sheath were fastest through the 2000m mark and have the knowledge they went more than three seconds faster in Cambridge two weeks ago.
The pairing of Emma Cumming and Natasha Hansen were fifth fastest clocking 33.917 in the women’s team sprint. World and Olympic champions Germany were again the class of the field but the next five teams were separated by just 0.1 seconds. New Zealand will take on Great Britain in the first round on day two.
The three-day event is the third of five stops for the UCI World Cup, which provides key qualifying ranking points for the world championships.
Day 1 results:
Men 4000m Team Pursuit qualifying: New Zealand (Nick Kergozou, Campbell Stewart, Jared Gray, Tom Sexton) 3:59.588, 1; Canada 4:01.245, 2; USA 4:06.084, 3.
Men Team Sprint qualifying: New Zealand (Sam Webster, Ethan Mitchell, Eddie Dawkins) 43.874, 1; France 44.171, 2; Great Britain 44.174, 3.
Women team sprint qualifying: Germany 33.118, 1; Korea 33.810, 2; Spain 33.861, 3; Great Britain 33.889, 4; New Zealand (Emma Cumming, Natasha Hansen) 33.917, 5.
Women 4000m team pursuit qualifying: Canada 4:22.310, 1; New Zealand (Rushlee Buchanan, Bryony Botha, Kirstie James, Racquel Sheath) 4:25.129, 2; France 4:32.707, 3.