Cycling: Record-equalling haul for cyclists

By Dylan Cleaver

New Zealand sprint team of Edward Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell, and Sam Webster. Photo / Brett Phibbs
New Zealand sprint team of Edward Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell, and Sam Webster. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The track cycling programme finished in Delhi last night with New Zealand scooping nine medals, equalling the record Commonwealth Games haul in Auckland in 1990.

The men's team sprint set a national record in finishing half a second behind the Australians, but the night belonged to pursuiter Alison Shanks who won New Zealand's first gold medal at Delhi.

New Zealand ended with one gold, five silver and three bronzes after four days on the boards.

Shanks was only the second person to deny Australia gold, after Malaysia's Josiah Ng in the kierin.

Australia had a monster games, winning 12 of the 14 big prizes.

Aside from Shanks and the team sprint, Sam Webster - who took a spectacular tumble last night - won bronze in the sprint. Eddie Dawkins picked up the same medal in the kilo time trial, as did Simon van Velthooven in the kierin.

Silver winners were the men's pursuit, Jesse Sergent in the individual pursuit, Lauren Ellis in the points race and Jo Kiesanowski in the scratch race.

Shanks put paid to arch rival Wendy Houvenaghel in the pursuit final with 3m 30.875, her quickest time of the year.

"We seem to come up against each other every major meet, it swings back and forth, but I love the competitive nature," Shanks said. "We have a good relationship, we enjoy a yarn after the race, but we know what it is all about so don't make too much eye contact beforehand."

Shanks said the medal was all the more meaningful as her event has been scrubbed from the programme at the London Olympics in two years.

"This does mean a lot; it is one of the last big games opportunities to race the individual pursuit."

Shanks will focus on the women's team pursuit for London.

"For sure, it is gut-wrenching, it is one of those things we've got no control over. I'll be savouring this individual medal for now."

Savouring silver is the men's sprint team, though 19-year-old Aucklander Webster will be smiling through the pain after he crashed when he handed the last lap of the sprint over to Dawkins.

"I think I've only got track burns. I don't know the full extent of it," he said.

"There was the disappointment of getting second, but the pain of hitting the deck as well."

Ethan Mitchell, the lead-out rider, said he heard a loud bang and looked over to see Webster sprawled on the ground.

"We're always worried when someone hits the deck, travelling at 70km/h," he said. "I'm stoked to get a first Commonwealth medal with these boys, it's just awesome."

New Zealand track coach Tim Carswell said it had been a satifying week.

"We arrived here from Bordeaux with riders who were in the best form of their lives," he said. "I guess what will be looked at is there is a lot of silvers and bronzes, and one gold. That does hurt a little bit for us, but at the same time we've prepared the riders as best we could.

"If you're beaten by a better rider on the day that's just the way it is."

- NZ Herald

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