Cycling National Championships held at the Avantidrome, Cambridge. The national championships was the final opportunity for riders to impress the selectors for a place in the team for the world championships. Captured through the lens of Dianne Manson. nationwideimages.co.nz
WAIKATO TALENT ON SHOW AT THE AVANTIDROME
Spectators were treated to a world record attempt and displays of power and speed on the track at the Avatidrome last week as 2600 athletes competed for national titles at the Skoda Elite & U19 Track National Championships.
There was a high standard of competition from riders with national representative track athletes now based in Cambridge as part of the centralised high performance programme, reverting back to represent their regions.
Not only were national titles up for grabs, but Cycling New Zealand selectors were appraising athletes for the team which would go on to represent New Zealand at the pinnacle event of the season, the World Championships in Paris later this month.
The Waikato-BOP team produced many standout performances.
The outstanding Jaime Nielsen claimed her second successive crown in the women’s 3000m individual pursuit, dominating qualifying by, clocking 3:35.33, just one second outside her best set in Glasgow.
She had a slender advantage over fellow Waikato and New Zealand teammate Rushlee Buchanan at the 1000m mark in the final, but gradually eased clear to win in 3:35.234, faster than her morning effort. It marks a strong start for the key woman in the team pursuit combination, but Nielsen was typically under-stated.
“It was a really good ride in the final and I was pleased with it. I’m not getting too carried away because I’ve got a really busy schedule with the scratch race, points race and team pursuit.”
Buchanan was second in 3:38.399 Waikato-BOP set a national record in the 4000m team pursuit, their 4:37.267 was more than three seconds faster than the record they set in qualifying last year.
The combination of Rushlee Buchanan, Racquel Sheath and Pip Sutton teamed up with Nielsen to win the title while Byrony Botha played a part in getting Waikato-BOP to the final after competing in qualifying.
In the scratch race Racquel Sheath (Waikato BOP) narrowly missed out on gold, settling for silver.
World champion Para-Cyclists Emma Foy (now based in Cambridge) and pilot Laura Fairweather broke the New Zealand record twice in the day in the tandem 3000m individual pursuit for blind or visually impaired riders.
They took a second off the record to clock 3:31.105 in the morning qualifying and lowered that to 3:30.487 in the final.
Waikato-BOP men’s pairing of Daniel Sharp with pilot Sean Finning established a national record in the tandem 4000m individual pursuit in 4:41.197 in the morning and were fractionally slower in the final.
Taupo’s Lewis Eccles, who recently competed in his first UCI World Cup, topped qualifiers in the under-19 sprint in a brilliant 10.810s, going on to claim gold.
SKODA ELITE & U19 TRACK NATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS:
The final night saw the Auckland combination of Webster, Williams and Ethan Mitchell claim the men’s team sprint from last year’s winners Southland in a tight battle.
The women’s honours remained with Southland with Steph Mckenzie, completing a clean sweep of four national titles, teaming with Natasha Hansen to dominate the team sprint over Otago.
Southland produced a classy display to claim the men’s 4000m team pursuit honours, prevailing over the youthful East Coast North Island unit.
Only fractions separated the pair in qualifying and it looked close again today until the strength of key international Piet Bulling and omnium rider Cam Karwowski gave the southerners the advantage.
They lost a rider late but managed to hold off the opposition to win in 4:05.58. Waikato Bay of Plenty were too classy in the women’s team pursuit with the combination of Rushlee Buchanan, Racquel Sheath, Jaime Nielsen and Pip Sutton overtaking Auckland two laps from the finish of the 3000m battle.
In under-19 honours, Podmore continued her winning ways in the team sprint with Canterbury teammate Rose Marshall-Lee while Southland’s Hamish Beadle, Tom Sexton, Bradley Knipe prevailed in the junior men.
In Para-Cycling, Wellington’s Kate Horan broke her own national record in the C4 3000m individual pursuit in 4:12.737, more than three seconds inside the previous mark. Auckland’s Byron Raubenheimer followed suit when he pipped his own record in the C4-5 4000m individual pursuit in 5:09.745, a second under his previous record.
For full results visit www.cyclingnewzealand.co.nz