After taking silver in the elite men’s kilo time trial last night, Auckland’s Zac Williams has proven that he is to be a force to be reckoned with in years to come. We caught up with him after his race against the clock saw him finish second only to ‘rhino’ himself Simon van Velthooven.
It’s been exciting watching Zac Williams progress through the ranks, and while he remains a development rider with the form he’s been displaying it looks only a matter of time before he is a regular in the High Performance squad alongside the likes of Mitchell, Dawkins, Webster and co. Last night in the men’s 1000m time trial he produced a quality performance along with a host of others, with 5 riders going under 1.02mins. Dylan Kennett of Mid South Canterbury backed up his silver in the 4km individual pursuit with another medal to take bronze in 1.01.570mins, Williams went faster in 1.01.326mins, while Simon van Velthooven of West Coast North Island stopped the clock just three hundredths of a second faster in 1.01.292mins.
Afterwards Williams was delighted to be in such elevated company, especially as he beat none other than current World Championship bronze medallist in the kilo time trial; Matthew Archibald. “It’s awesome, especially as I went over to Hong Kong for a World Cup race there and coming back the form wasn’t that great,” Williams said. “so everything’s sort of pulled together the last couple of days so it’s awesome to be on the podium and to nearly beat a guy like ‘rhino’ who medals nearly every year at worlds and Kenny as well who’s one of the top enduro guys; so it’s pretty cool being in that top end of the field.”
The race itself was a quick one which was interesting considering the cooler temperatures at the Avantidrome that made longer events like the individual pursuit a lot slower compared to what they had been in the morning. “It felt quite good actually, after the first lap I thought I was going quite quick, the guys were obviously really quick in the individual pursuit and U19 kilo this morning; so I knew it was going to be reasonably quick but I thought it was a lot quicker than what I had been training this week,” Zac said.
Talking about the track conditions, Zac explained that the effect for himself and the other kilo riders was significantly reduced with the nature of such a short event. “Because it is a lot shorter [track conditions] doesn’t have as much bearing, on the day we’re going flat out and we’re not trying to hold a pace so it doesn’t take as much out of us as it would in an IP. But it’s probably as quick if not a bit quicker than what I’ve been training the last week,” he told us.
The journey from here is uncertain for Williams, and while he will continue to perform through the rest of this weekend in the sprint disciplines he has one eye on a prospective ride at the World Championships in London; although he’s aware of the task at hand if he is to break through with the big guns. “I’d love to try and go to worlds for the kilo, that’s what I’ve been training for the last few months. Whether it happens or not I’ll find out but at the end of the day it’s about focussing on the guys who will be going to the Olympics and the chances of me going are quite slim as I’m one of the development riders,” Zac explained. “But if I can push those guys harder so that it gives them that extra percentage to win the gold in Rio I’ll be happy and I’ll know I’ve actually contributed something to them winning gold.”
The Vantage Track National Championships at the Avantidrome, Cambridge continues today with the action starting at 10am, keep your eyes open for our live coverage that will commence from 6pm tonight.