22 Oct 2021

Aaron Gate aiming for another Olympics

8:16 am on 22 October 2021

New Zealand cyclist Aaron Gate hopes to celebrate his return from surgery with a medal at the World Track Cycling Championships in France this weekend.

New Zealand's Aaron Gate reacts after crashing during the men's track cycling team pursuit finals during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Izu Velodrome in Izu, Japan, on August 4, 2021.

Aaron Gate crashes at the Tokyo Olympics Photo: AFP

The original world championships in Turkmenistan were cancelled because of covid-related issues in the country that made it impossible to stage the event.

Because of the pandemic New Zealand has just four European-based riders there, Tokyo Olympic riders Aaron Gate and Corbin Strong, plus Ally Wollaston and Michaela Drummond, with both women competing on professional road teams in Europe.

Gate has fully recovered from his fractured clavicle after his crash in the team's pursuit bronze medal ride at the Tokyo Olympics.

He's since returned to road racing with his Black Spoke Pro Cycling team who are based for the season in Belgium, while Strong races for the Dutch-based SEG Racing continental team.

30 year old Gate is over the disappointment of how his third Olympics ended.

"It's really sparked a strong desire to go back for redemption so to speak in Paris," said Gate.

"I think I'm more motivated than I've ever been for another Olympics so it would be great to do everything that is going to be the right pathway between now and then to get me going the best I can come the Paris Olympics."

After qualifying quotas for nations were completed for the 2021 world championships, the UCI offered New Zealand one spot each in the male and female omnium and madison events and the men's Points race where Strong is the defending champion.

Gate will be competing in the madison and omnium, the two events he was meant to ride in Tokyo before his crash.

Corbin Strong from New Zealand cheers after his victory at the World Championships on 29 February, 2020.

Corbin Strong Photo: Sebastian Gollnow / dpa / AFP

"We're capable of winning medals in both those events and that's definitely the goal, were here to be on the podium and anything less will be a disappointment.

"But not coming up with any excuses pre-race here but we are coming in cold turkey with just road racing in our legs and the Europeans have all come straight off the European Championships."

"After missing the Olympics race I actually haven't done an official level omnium since the Brisbane World Cup at the end of 2019 so its a bit of a different run in to what you'd normally have for a World Championships.

"But at the same time when I won the world omnium title (in 2013) it was actually the first one I'd ever done at international level, so I'm not counting myself out and then we'll see what we can do (with Strong) in the madison."

He said the quartet are literally jumping off their road bikes and on to the track this week, and while he and Strong competed in Tokyo, Drummond and Wollaston have been on the roads in Europe most of the year.

"We are coming in with a road-based build-up which is quite different. As we are only racing bunch races, there is not as much of the technical side of things that are so important in pursuits.

"We will all go out and ride as hard as we can, have some fun and see where it lands us."