5 Dec 2014

Stronger showing from NZ cyclists expected

11:39 am on 5 December 2014

A much stronger showing is expected from the New Zealand track cycling team when they compete at the second round of the World Cup in London this weekend.

In last month's opening meet in Mexico the world champion men's team sprint won New Zealand's only medal at the event, finishing third.

The 16-strong team is virtually unchanged as the riders continue their build up to February's world champs in Paris.

Head coach Dayle Cheatley says the event is the first major one at the velodrome since the 2012 London Olympics.

BikeNZ head track coach Dayle Cheatley.

BikeNZ head track coach Dayle Cheatley. Photo: Photosport

"All our squad, particularly the sprint team, they've kept on tracking well and keep on making gains. They'll be striving for that gold medal ride off and I can't see any reason why they couldn't do that," he says.

Cheatley was most pleased with the effort of the women's endurance squad in their first international appearance in two years, when they finished fourth in the team pursuit and Raquel Sheath was a promising 11th in her omnium debut.

The women's team pursuit (from left – Jaime Nielsen, Georgia Williams, Rushlee Buchanan, Lauren Ellis)

The women's team pursuit (from left – Jaime Nielsen, Georgia Williams, Rushlee Buchanan, Lauren Ellis) Photo: Guy Swarbrick-BikeNZ

"They have continued to impress us since they've been back on the track. They are looking to step up from what they did at Guadalajara and expectation is that they get to step on to the podium which would show fantastic gain and progression."

One of the main challenges is for the team pursuit with three rounds on one day, followed by the omnium the next day.

"Teams will be looking strategically in what they do with their line-ups on the first day."

New Zealand have ear-marked the 2013 world champion Aaron Gate to compete in the six-discipline omnium competition to secure qualifying points and options for the team for the world championships and Olympics.

However the men's team pursuit is an untried combination with Cameron Karwowski, recovering from a collar bone frcture and a returning Myron Simpson in their first World Cup to join Pieter Bulling and Westley Gough.

"I am pretty sure the men's coach Tim Carswell will want to use Aaron for one of the rounds of the team pursuit with such a young squad at this one," says Cheatley.

"We will check out the other teams and then set goals for that qualifying ride with the aim of continuing to pick up those Olympic and world championship points."

The Great Britain squad will be keen to impress on the track that brought such success two years ago, the Australians have a large team and all of the major teams are also targeting this world cup.

The format differs from Mexico with the first day, Saturday, featuring qualifying, semifinals and finals of the team pursuit for both men and women set for a testing 12 hour programme, with team sprint to also contest both qualifying and finals.

Sunday is the sprint for women keirin for men and the first day of omnium competition for men and women, with Monday featuring the men's sprint, women's keirin and final three events of the omnium.

The final world cup will be in January in Colombia ahead of February's world championships in Paris.

BikeNZ team:

Men endurance: Aaron Gate (Auckland), Westley Gough (Waipukurau), Cameron Karwowski (Invercargill), Pieter Bulling (Invercargill), Myron Simpson (Auckland)

Men sprint: Eddie Dawkins (Invercargill), Ethan Mitchell (Auckland), Sam Webster (Auckland), Matthew Archibald (Invercargill)

Women endurance: Lauren Ellis (Hinds), Jaime Nielsen (Cambridge), Rushlee Buchannan (Te Awamutu), Racquel Sheath (Te Awamutu), Georgia Williams (Auckland)

Women sprint: Stephanie McKenzie (Invercargill), Katie Schofield (Dunedin)