4 Feb 2024

Ellesse Andrews crashes out in Adelaide

9:47 am on 4 February 2024
New Zealand cyclist Ellesse Andrews ready for action in the women’s sprint

Photo: Michael Shippley/AusCycling

A medal chase for Ellesse Andrews finished with a crash to put a damper on the New Zealand campaign at the UCI Nations Cup in Adelaide on day two.

Andrews was not the only rider in the kiwi team to hit the boards, with Bryony Botha coming down in a mix of riders in the hectic two-rider women's madison, and world champion Aaron Gate stalled in his late chase by a crash in the men's omnium.

The Keirin world champion competing in the sprint competition, qualified sixth and had moved impressively through to the semifinal stage in match-racing. However she clipped the back wheel of Japanese rider, Mina Sato coming into the final lap of the first in the best-of-three semifinal. The kiwi rider fell heavily, with the medical team treating her before being taken away for further tests.

It meant Andrews was unable to continue in the competition, and is unlikely to be risked in today's keirin competition given her high world ranking.

Meanwhile Botha was able to return to her race with Michaela Drummond, finishing a respectable fifth place, although after moving to a share of second place mid-race, they were only able to pick up a single point in the final five sprints.

Points race world champion, Aaron Gate produced a superb second half of the four-discipline men's omnium competition, finishing fourth only five points out of a medal, moving up from 12th after two events.

Gate was in 12th place following the 10km scratch race and 10km tempo race. He showed his supreme skill and endurance to win the elimination race, staying safe early, and then displaying his strength and speed to dominate the final five sprints to move up six spots to seventh overall, 22 points behind the leader.

He was the standout rider in the concluding Points race, the discipline where he is the individual world champion. The kiwi attacked throughout the exhausting 25km event where points are awarded every 10 laps, moving into medal contention.

His final move was thwarted when the race was reset following a crash 12 laps from the finish, with his main rivals able to recover sufficiently to mark the kiwi in the closing laps, finishing fourth only five points off the podium.

"I didn't set it up too well in the first two races but reset and came back strongly," said Gate.

"I gave it a good nudge but the crash didn't play into my favour with my competitors starting to fatigue.

New Zealand's sole sprinter, Sam Dakin finished 11th in the men's keirin, forcing his way into the 7-12th final where he rode powerfully but was edged on the line, but picked up useful points as he pushes to earn New Zealand a slot for the Paris Olympics.

The final day of competition sees Dakin in the men's sprint, Ally Wollaston in the omnium, Olivia King, and Rebecca Petch in the keirin, and Gate and Campbell Stewart in the madison.