NZ Track Cycling Champs - Webster, McKenzie continue to dominate sprint battles
Top sprinters Sam Webster and Steph McKenzie claimed their fifth title between them on the penultimate night of the Skoda Track Cycling Nationals at the Avantidrome in Cambridge tonight.
Webster produced a devastating burst to come from the back of the field to win an exciting men’s keirin while McKenzie had to unleash similar tactics to storm home in the women’s final.
The pair won the individual sprint tiles and Mckenzie also took out the 500m time trial at the championships that double as the final trial before selection to the world championships in Paris next month.
Sam Webster wins the men’s keirin final.
The image is free for editorial use. Credit: Dianne Manson.
The emergence of exciting young talent continued with the final men’s endurance race claimed by 19-year-old junior world champion Regan Gough from Hawkes Bay. This follows the individual pursuit won by 20 year old Dylan Kennett and the scratch race by 21 year old Alex Frame.
Webster found himself at the back of the field in the keirin final, but followed the attack by Dawkins after the durny departed. The Commonwealth Games silver medallist pushed hard to go around leader van Velthooven into the final lap, and fought off a frantic finish from the Olympic medallist, Archibald and impressive Mid-South Canterbury rider Daniel Rafferty.
“When you are that far back you only have the chance to make one move and it has to be decisive,” said Webster. “The plan fell in place to make my run with a lap and a half, I ran at the gap, on the back straight, made my big move and from there it was 100 percent from there to home.
“That was the only way I was going to win it against my training mates.
“I’ve put my hand up to ride the sprint, team sprint and keirin at the world championships but that is in the hands of the selectors. I am happy with how I have delivered the racing. I hope my good form here can continue to build and I feel I have more left in the tank.”
The women’s final took on a similar approach for McKenzie when she came from the clouds to win the final of the women’s keirin.
She found herself near the back with fellow Southland rider Natasha Hansen, chasing down their Cycling New Zealand training partner Katie Schofield who had scooted clear. McKenzie found the power down the final straight to mow down the field and hold Hansen at bay.
“It was probably not my best keirin but a hard-fought one. I was thinking of being patient. My coach said full gas with one lap to go which is what I did,” McKenzie said.
“It showed tonight that I have built on my strength. So that’s pretty pleasing.
“I am definitely stronger than I was this time last year and looking forward to the team sprint tomorrow.”
Gough proved the class of the 30km points race, after an early lap by Aaron Gate was reversed when he lost a lap, and then a promising break from Frame ended when he suffered a mechanical issue although he continued on a borrowed bike.
The young Waipukurau rider was able to position himself well throughout to win with 36 points from veteran Marc Ryan, who claimed a late lap on the field, and Kennett.
Canterbury’s Liz Steel celebrated a strong championship when she outsprinted more vaunted opposition to win the scratch race from Racquel Sheath (Waikato BOP) and Lauren Ellis (Mid South Canterbury).
Earlier, world champion Para-Cyclists Emma Fooy 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.
The 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.
In under-19 action, Palmerston North’s Michaela Drummond prevailed in the under-19 points race ahead of Canterbury’s Olivia Podmore who had a busy night of finals.
The Christchurch teenager returned to the track to pip promising Southland rider Emma Cumming in the third race decider in the sprint.
Taupo rider Lewis Eccles (WBP) won the boys’ sprint final over Campbell Stewart (WCNI) in two rides.
The championships conclude tomorrow featuring the team sprint and team pursuit.
Keirin semifinal 1: Natasha Hansen (Southland) 1, Stephanie McKenzie (Southland) 2, Tess Young (WBP) 3. Semifinal 2: Katie Schofield (Otago) 1, Elizabeth Steel (Canterbury) 2, Hannah Bayard (Auckland) 3. Finals: McKenzie 1, Hansen 2, Steel 3, Schofield 4, Young 5, Bayard 6.
Scratch race 10km: Elizabeth Steel (Canterbury) 1, Racquel Sheath (WBP) 2, Lauren Ellis (MSC) 3.
Keirin semifinal 1: Sam Webster (Auckland) 1, Eddie Dawkins (Southland) 2, Jeremy Presbury (Southland) 3. Semifinal 2: Simon van Velthooven (WCNI) 1, Matt Archibald (Southland) 2, Daniel Rafferty (MSC) 3. Final: Webster 1, van Velthooven 2, Archibald 3, Rafferty 4, Presbury 5, Dawkins 6.
Points race 30km: Regan Gough (ECNI) 36 points, 1; Marc Ryan (MSC) 27, 2; Kennett 21, 3.
Sprint qualifying: Olivia Podmore (Canterbury) 11.729, 1; Emma Cumming (Southland) 12.071, 2; Jaymie King (WBP) 12.403, 3; Sarah McLeod (Canterbury) 13.041, 4.
Semifinals: Podmore bt McLeod 2-0, Cumming bt King 2-0. Third-fourth: King bt McLeod 2-0. Final: Cumming bt Podmore 2-0.
Points race 15km: Michaela Drummond (WCNI) 13 points, 1; Olivia Podmore (Canterbury) 11, 2; Rose Marshall-Lee (Catnerbury) 10, 3.
Sprint qualifying: Lewis Eccles (WBP) 10.810, 1; Bradly Knipe (Southland) 10.888, 2; Campbell Stewart (WCNI) 10.916, 3; Liam Brown (WCNI) 11.236, 4; Hamish Beadle (Southland) 11.266, 5; Sam Buckner (Canterbury) 11.329, 6; Louis Higgison (Wellington) 11.422, 7; Cody Simpson (WCNI) 11.531, 8.
Quarterfinals: Eccles bt Laurence Kerby (Auckland), Knipe bt Higgison, Stewart bt Buckner, Brown bt Beadle. Semifinals: Eccles bt Brown 2-0, Campbell bt Knipe 2-0. Third-Fourth: Knipe bt Brown 2-0. Final: Eccles bt Stewart 2-0.
Women tandem 3000m individual pursuit: Emma Foy (Northland) and Laura Fairweather (Southland) 3:30.487, 1 (NZ Record); Phillipa Gray (WBP) and Kylie Young (Southland) 3:39.449, 2.
Men tandem 4000m individual pursuit: Daniel Sharp and Sean Finning (Southland) 4:41.197, 1 (NZ Record).