Credit: Guy Swarbrick
Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup
The host nation New Zealand dominated the opening night of the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Cambridge, winning three of the four team events.
The three-time world champion men’s team sprint claimed their first World Cup victory in over a year with two rides under 43 seconds while the women’s team pursuit prevailed over Canada in the final and established a new national record in the process.
But the eye-catching display came from the New Zealand men’s team pursuit, who set the second fastest time in history in 3:50.159 in beating Canada in the final.
The only other final went to the Holy Brother trade team from China who took out the women’s team sprint honours over France.
Men's Team Pursuit
New Zealand’s Regan Gough, Campbell Stewart, Jordan Kerby and Nicholas Kergozou came within four tenths of a second of breaking a world record in the gold medal ride stopping the clock in 3:50.159, just shy of the 3:49.804 set by Australia at the Commonwealth Games.
The New Zealand team were in control throughout the competition setting the fastest time in qualifying before setting a new national record of 3:51.722, with Tom Sexton riding in the place of Kergozou. The record would stand for only a matter of hours however until the final.
A fast 1:02 opening kilometre set New Zealand up to power away with an increasingly vocal packed crowd cheering them on. 56sec, 55sec and 56sec kilometres over the remainder of the race saw them come within touching distance of the world mark and again lower the New Zealand national record.
Women’s Team Sprint
The Holy Brother trade team from China has sneaked home to win women’s team sprint gold over France.
Song Chaorui and Bao Shanju have won by just over two 10ths of a second from Sandie Clair and Mathilde Gros, taking it in a time of 33.460 seconds.
Polish duo Marlena Karwacka and Urszula Los took the bronze medal over the Subway New Zealand Trade Team riders Olivia Podmore and Tahlay Christie. The kiwi pair had advanced to the bronze medal race after the New Zealand Elite squad pair, Emma Cumming and Natasha Hansen, were relegated due to an incorrect change.
Men’s Team Sprint
Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins capped a stunning opening night for the home nation, winning gold for New Zealand in the men’s team sprint.
A fraction off setting a new national record in the first round, Webster, Dawkins and Mitchell were slightly slower in a tough gold medal ride against the Australian team of Nathan Hart, Jacob Schmid and Thomas Clarke, but produced a consistent performance to win their first World Cup event since 2017. They clocked a time of 43.121 seconds.
The French trio of Gregory Bauge, Sebastien Vigier and Michael D’Almeida wrapped up the bronze medal with a tight win over China.
Women’s Team Pursuit
Commonwealth Games silver medallists Rushlee Buchanan, Racquel Sheath, Kirstie James and Bryony Botha smashed their own national record on their way to gold in front of a vocal home crowd, stopping the clock in 4:16.028.
The previous record of 4:17.560 set in October last year in Paris at the opening World Cup was lowered by more than a second and a half. Having earlier set the fastest time in qualifying the trio started the gold medal ride as slight underdogs with Canada breaking the All Comers Record in the first round.
Trailing by two tenths of a second at the one kilometre mark the quartet powered away in the second kilometre opening half a second advantage. With the crowd behind them they pulled away further to the delight of the crowd pipping Canada by more than a second.
The hotly contested ride for bronze saw Italy emerge on top on in 4:18.069 ahead of the Subway New Zealand Track Trade Team.