Cycling high performance boss Mark Elliott has ripped into Dylan Kennett, claiming he gave up in the omnium elimination race in Rio.
Elliott said Kennett had not shown the stuff of a champion by failing to respond well after striking bad luck involving the final lap bell in the scratch race.
The 21-year-old Kennett, from South Canterbury, was part of the world championship pursuit gold medal team last year, and was in the team beaten for bronze by Denmark in Rio. He was one of the first riders knocked out of the elimination race in the omnium, and sits 10th overall at the halfway stage.
Elliott told Radio Sport's Brenton Vannisselroy: "Dylan's got to learn how to be a champion and it's not by giving up.
"He's was no doubt caught out in that first scratch race. When you've got Mark Cavendish right beside you and both going hard, they both heard the bell and went for it.
"It was just unfortunate ...he would have been sitting 5th. He had a great IP (individual pursuit).
"I think we've just seen someone who hasn't been able to focus for the elimination and do what he is really capable...he'll go back tonight with a collection of thoughts."
Elliott said the judges had made a "common sense call" after the scratch race confusion which cost Kennett a high placing. Kennett complained afterwards that the judging stuff up could cost him a medal.
"I'm trying to make up ground and it's going to be pretty hard to come back and look at the gold medal now, so the best thing I can target now is just a medal. It's going to be hard," Kennett told Sky TV.
Elliiott said: "If he shows true potential tomorrow he can win the flying lap and kilo - he has the ability to do that, but he s got to go and want to do it. The points race going to be tough
"He can put himself up there, and should be striving for a top five. A good elimination and he could have been striving for a medal. That's the omnium. It never pans out how you think it will
"You've got to learn how to be a champion and that's not by giving up...champions have got to want it."
Elliott saved special praise for sprinter Natasha Hansen, who races again on Tuesday morning (1am) seeking to make the finals on Wednesday morning.
"We can't ask any more of our team sprint guys, superb...the girls rode a fantastic pursuit, a national record. Some of our crowd have (excelled) and some haven't. That's the disappointing thing. It's pretty clear Natasha is delivering - that's a national record from her. That's what we're looking for. So good on her."