Two more medals on final day for Vantage New Zealand riders
The Vantage New Zealand team has won two further medals on the final day of their opening UCI Track World Cup campaign in Hong Kong.
The pairing of omnium world champion Campbell Stewart and Tom Sexton won the silver medal in the men’s madison behind world champions Germany, while Corbin Strong won the bronze in the scratch race.
Tom Sexton sling-shots teammate Campbell Stewart during the madison
Credit: Guy Swarbrick.
It brought the tally for the Vantage New Zealand team to seven with two fourth placings, which proved an excellent return, earning the award as leading nation at the competition.
“We went there to get ranking points in the key Olympic events and in the main we have exceeded expectations in that regard,” said Cycling New Zealand High Performance Director, Martin Barras.
“The endurance riders performed very well in team pursuit, omnium and madison competitions which was an important start for our campaign. And all of those riders, many of them young cyclists, impressed us.
“The riders coming in to the competition this week in Cambridge now have their opportunity to show their abilities.
“The win by Callum Saunders in the keirin was the pick of our sprint events. As a newcomer, he beat the “who’s who “ of international sprinting.
“Our team sprints in both male and female have some adjustments to make before what is a very important few days of competition on their home track at the Avantidrome this week.”
While the New Zealand pairing of Stewart and Sexton won more points from sprints in the omnium competition, the German world champions secured top spot as the only combination to gain a lap on the field.
The Kiwi combination were prominent throughout the gruelling 50km race, featuring in most of the sprint points and securing second placing when they won the double points final sprint to beat off the challenge from Great Britain for the silver medal.
Drummond had a consistently high level of competition throughout the women’s omnium, finishing fifth in the scratch race, fourth in the tempo and elimination races to sit in third place overall going into the deciding points race.
With none of the leading contenders able to gain bonus points from lapping the field, the sprint points were well spread.
Japan’s Yumi Kajihara took out the overall honours on countback from Portugal’s Maria Martins despite neither featuring in the final sprint.
Drummond was pipped for third place in the final sprint by Belgian Jolien D’Hoore which left the two riders equal in third place on 106. D’Hoore took out the medal by virtue of her higher placing in that final sprint.
Corbin Strong, a member of the successful team pursuit combination, rode prominently in the 15km scratch race, to finish third in the sprint finish won by world silver medallist Roy Eefting (NED) with European silver medallist Christos Volikakis (GRE) second.
Earlier Natasha Hansen finished eighth overall in the women’s keirin competition. After placing fourth in her heat, she won through with victory in her repechage but was fifth in the semifinal to place her in the race for seventh to 12th. Hansen was pipped in a photo finish for the win in the consolation final to finish eighth overall and pick up some valuable ranking points.
Ellesse Andrews was pipped in the sprint finish in her repechage and did not progress.
There was no fairytale finish for keirin winner Callum Saunders, who clocked a personal best 10.050 in qualifying for the men’s individual sprint but was beaten by Nicholas Paul (Trinidad & Tobago) in the first round.
In a repeat of the world championship final, Harrie Lavreysen beat off the challenge from his fellow Dutch teammate Jeffrey Hoogland in two straight rides in the final.
All attention now shifts to New Zealand with the Avantidrome in Cambridge hosting the fourth stop in the Tissot UCI World Cup, with over 500 riders and staff from 46 nations competing. Several teams have already arrived with competition starting on Friday.