THE New Zealand men’s sprint cycling team have won gold in the team event at the UCI World Cup in Mexico.
The BikeNZ team beat Olympic silver medallists France in the final, registering a time of 43.052 seconds, good enough to place them in the top 10 times in history.
Justin Grace, the team’s coach, was delighted with the result which guaranteed the team a start in the world championships.
“I came here thinking the team could make the final and that we would likely meet France if we did, ” he told Fairfax NZ.
“But to ride two performances in the low 43 seconds and back up with a 43.052 in the final was brilliant.”
“The team looked very strong this morning in qualifying where we finished ahead of Australia and Russia in a closely fought session.”
Key rider in both rides was Ethan Mitchell, who notched 17.2s in both rides.
“What more can you say. Both of those rides were world class. Right now at this time, Ethan is probably the fastest starter anywhere.”
Matthew Archibold was replaced by Sam Webster for the final.
“We have four strong riders and we wanted to use them all. Matt rode well this morning and Sam was outstanding when he came in for the final.”
Webster, a former triple junior world champion, rode a 12.711 second lap with Invercargill’s Eddie Dawkins following with a 13.076.
“To take 0.3s off our previous best is a huge chunk of time even on this fast track at altitude. But the job is not over, as we have important qualifying in the keirin with Eddie tomorrow and Matt and Sam in sprints on Sunday.
“We need more good performances to secure spots in the world championships.”