New Zealand team sprint pioneers Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins took another step in their illustrious careers by defending their Commonwealth Games title last night at Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane.

They were joined by silver medallists Natasha Hansen and Emma Cumming in the women's team sprint and Bryony Botha, Rushlee Buchanan, Kirstie James and Racquel Sheath in the women's team pursuit.

The men led England through every lap to roll to a 0.670s triumph like pedaling dominoes.

Mitchell powered through the first circuit to take a 0.207s grip, Webster kept parity with a 0.168s advantage, leaving Dawkins to power home and complete their run in 42.877s.

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New Zealand Men's Team Sprint member Ethan Mitchell celebrates gold with friends and family. Photo / Greg Bowker
New Zealand Men's Team Sprint member Ethan Mitchell celebrates gold with friends and family. Photo / Greg Bowker

Earlier, they set a Games record 42.822s, 0.694s clear of their final opponents.

"We went in with the mindset that we weren't defending anything. The title was back up for grabs because that would help us stay hungry," Webster said.

"You do what we do for very small moments of euphoria. That's to cross the line, see what we've won, and share the moment with the boys.

"This is a special opportunity at as near to a Commonwealth Games as we're going to get."

Mitchell said their sixth at February's world championships was disappointing by their standards.

"Going in as world champions, we didn't gel like normal.

"We put emphasis on regrouping and focusing on the technical things we pride ourselves on.

"To have all the stars aligning, and doing rides like we're meant to, was special."

"The first 60m [of the final 250m lap] has been flip of a coin for me," Dawkins added.

"To get that dialed in since the worlds has been a huge weight off my shoulders.

"As soon as I see clear air after Sam swings up, it's head down looking straight at the black line."

The velodrome was New Zealand's only medal hunting ground on the opening day.

As it happened: Kiwi cyclists highlight Day One of Comm Games

The women's team sprint of Natasha Hansen and Emma Cumming claimed silver behind Australia.

The result represents New Zealand's first medal in the event at a Games.

However, the hosts were always in command, going out to a 0.349s lead after the first lap and extending to 0.627s at the finish.

Hansen and Cumming set a New Zealand best time of 33.321s in qualifying, 0.132s better than their previous mark at the world championships.

"We definitely earned the medal on the back of those personal bests," Hansen said.

"And to have those three boys [the men's team] training, pushing and working with us, and being the best teammates they can be, is why we're here today," Cumming added.

The women's team pursuit earned the country's first medal of the Games with silver in the event's maiden appearance.

The quartet started with pluck, but were lapped by Australia in the final metre of the race.

New Zealand Women's 4000m Team Pursuit is passed by Australia as they win gold on the final lap. Photo / Greg Bowker
New Zealand Women's 4000m Team Pursuit is passed by Australia as they win gold on the final lap. Photo / Greg Bowker

The hosts lowered their own Games record by clocking 4m 15.214s; New Zealand were 9.322s adrift.

That could not dent the pride of veteran Buchanan.

"It's a huge honour to win New Zealand's first medal [of the Games] and make history.

"We wanted to give the Aussies a run for their money in the first two kilometres… and then hold on for dear life, which is kind of what the team pursuit is anyway.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall presented the team with their medals.

"I wasn't sure if I should curtsy or shake hands," Buchanan said.

"But it's a great place to be, and I'm super proud with a silver medal wearing the silver fern."

James noted the bittersweetness.

"I've dreamed of coming to the Commonwealth Games since I was a kid. It's pretty emotional to finally be here standing on the podium representing New Zealand.

"It's always tough in a team pursuit getting silver because you just lost the race. After the legs stop hurting, we'll let the moment sink in."

The Kiwis recorded the second fastest time of 4m 22.331s in qualifying, 0.153s ahead of Canada.

New Zealand Women's 4000m Team Pursuit are presented with their Silver medals by the Duchess of Cornwall. Photo / Greg Bowker
New Zealand Women's 4000m Team Pursuit are presented with their Silver medals by the Duchess of Cornwall. Photo / Greg Bowker

Earlier, drama enveloped the opening day when the men's team pursuit of Regan Gough, Nick Kergozou, Campbell Stewart and Tom Sexton were disqualified from riding-off for bronze.

They fielded an illegal bike on the start line, meaning the deciding race against Canada was annulled. An appeal was denied and Wales replaced them.

New Zealand clocked 3m 56.294s, 4.253s behind leaders Australia who later set a world record 3m 49.804s in the final.

Cycling New Zealand high performance director Martin Barras took responsibility.

"There are regulations that pertain to the exact set-up the bike can be configured in, and one of our bikes was found to be outside those configurations by five or six millimetres in the front cockpit.

"It's a failing on the team's part, it's a failing on my part as the director of the programme, and I can guarantee no other bike is going onto the track with a set-up that hasn't conformed to the regulations.

"It was a particularly painful apology to make to all the riders for what just happened."