New Zealand cycling is excited about future prospects after a strong performance at the UCI Track Championships that finished today in Colombia (NZ time).
The team finished with five medals at Cali which equalled the previous best achieved in Melbourne two years ago in the lead-up to the London Olympics.
The combination of Shane Archbold and Tom Scully finishedeighth in the spectacular two-man Madison, after initial results listed them as fourth, two points off a medal. This was later amended in the official results after four teams had put a lap on the field, with Spain awarded the title.
It brings New Zealand’s tally to 35 medals in the 44 years of the world championships, but significantly two-thirds of those medals have been achieved in the last five years.
BikeNZ High Performance Director Mark Elliott said he is pleased with the outcome and encouraged given the squad only had a few weeks at the new Avantidrome in Cambridge, which is the first centralised base for the sport in this country.
“The key targets were the Olympic team events and so to win a world title in the sprint and a bronze medal in the team pursuit was rewarding and testimony to their hard work and commitment,” Elliott said.
“Aaron Gate’s fourth placing in the omnium was satisfactory given he had to compromise his preparation with the team pursuit.
“There was some encouraging racing in individual disciplines but we need further technical and tactical improvement going forward.
“Overall it is an excellent start and now they will need to recover before focussing on the national championships next week which is the final competition to push claims for the Commonwealth Games.”
Archbold and Scully, who won a silver medal in the points race earlier in the week, had a strong race in the Madison. After losing a lap early, Scully had to double-up after Archbold was brought down in a crash.
Initially they were listed in fourth place after picking up points in six of the 10 intermediary sprints, but four countries had been awarded a lap on the field with Spain winning from the Czech Republic and Switzerland.
“It was really fast as everyone was pushing for the sprint points. It was the usual amount of carnage and we were pretty competitive,” Scully said.
The winners averaged 54kph for the 50km event.
“I’m really happy to have had the opportunity to get back to track racing at this level. I’m really keen to put my hand up for the Commonwealth Games that’s for sure.
“I will need to sit down with Dayle (head coach Dayle Cheatley) to work out my preparation. I did 90kms in two races so I need a real endurance base and therefore I need to work out a balance between the track and racing for my road team in UK.”
The squad finished with a gold medal in the team sprint, silver medal to Scully in the points race and bronze medals for the team pursuit, Marc Ryan in the individual pursuit and Simon van Velthooven in the 1000m time trial.
The team return to New Zealand on Thursday with the national elite championships beginning at the new Avantidrome starting next Thursday 13 April, with tickets available from Ticketek.
Results, day 5:
Madison, 50km: Spain 18 points, 1; Czech Republic 12, 2; Switzerland 7, 3. Also: New Zealand one lap, 8.