More medals for track cyclists

Natasha Hansen flashes home on the outside for second in the keirin final at the UCI World Cup in Santiago, Chile. Photo – Guy Swarbrick.

New Zealand’s Elite team of track cyclists bagged two victories and a silver medal on the final day of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Chile last Monday.

The men’s team pursuit, made up of Nick Kergozou, Harry Waine, Campbell Stewart and Jared Gray, with an average age of just 19 years, not only won the 4000m final in dominant fashion but produced two personal bests, including a stunning 3:54.618 gold medal effort on the slick Peñalolen Velodrome in Santiago.

The female pairing of Racquel Sheath and Michaela Drummond controlled the women’s two-person madison for the gold medal, dominating the 20km two-rider event and winning points in all eight sprints.

Raquel Sheath sling-shots Michaela Drummond on the way to victory in the Madison. Photo – Guy Swarbrick.

Natasha Hansen doubled up to impress in the women’s keirin, winning her semifinal ride impressively before the long wait until the final, where she was forced to go three-wide on the final bend from last place to claim second, just a wheel from winner Madalyn Godby (USA) who led throughout.

The day before, Hansen broke her own record qualifying for the women’s individual sprint with her 10.840s effort clipping 3/100ths of a second off her own national record. Other top efforts on Day 2 saw the women’s team pursuit and men’s madison record victories.

The men’s Madison celebrate their win. Photo – Guy Swarbrick.

The women’s team pursuit combination of Rushlee Buchannan, Kirstie James, Bryony Botha and Racquel Sheath bettered their silver medal victory from last week by a significant margin, winning the final over Italy with a new best for this team, a time of 4:17.804 – only 0.2s outside the national record set at the Rio Olympics.

The teenage pairing of Campbell Stewart and Tom Sexton, who claimed the silver medal in the madison the week before in Canada, went one better with a dominant display to win the men’s 30km madison with 32 points.

It proved an excellent return for the largely Cambridge-based New Zealand squad, who won the leading team award at the first World Cup round in Canada, and again at last week’s round in Chile.

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