A sense of vindication for national track cycling coach Anthony Peden after New Zealand's 12-medal haul at the Commonwealth Games.

As the team's sprint boss, Peden was responsible for eight discs as his charges tried to peak for two pinnacle events in the space of five weeks.

However, it has not been without head-scratching.

The team struggled at the world championships in the Netherlands with Rushlee Buchanan's omnium bronze the solitary return.


After the opening four days of the Games, albeit with weaker fields, they have set the standard for the wider New Zealand team with personal bests prevalent throughout.

By comparison, at Glasgow in 2014 they picked up 11 medals - four gold, two silver and five bronze. The Gold Coast dozen were divvied into two gold, six silver and four bronze. The biggest boost to the count was five for women, compared to zero four years earlier.

"We were confident we would go well with the women, and go as well as Glasgow with the men. We were probably one or two down there [with the men], but it has been a fantastic time," Peden said.

"They are not soft medals. [The team] has laid down some world-class performances."

So have the track cyclists done enough to justify a taxpayer investment of $4.4 million this year?

"We're in a competitive sport, and sometimes because of our success I think there's a perception we just roll off to worlds and come home with a tin of medals," Peden said.

"In reality, it's not that easy. Big nations with big budgets are doing some great things. We're doing the best with what we've got.

"The worlds wasn't a failure - it was probably a good thing. We just didn't execute a few rides, but going into the next Olympic qualification cycle we can't have those same hiccups."

The highlight of the programme has been the rise of the women's sprinters.

Natasha Hansen and Emma Cumming secured four medals between them across the individual and team disciplines, keirin and 500m time trial.

Hansen also overcame back issues which threatened to rule her out of both campaigns.

"We got to a point when we had to make a hard decision," Peden said.

"Putting an athlete out underprepared is not good for future confidence or self-belief. We were getting tight on that.

"We were down to three to four weeks from worlds and she was taking three to four days off every couple of weeks. I didn't know if we'd get enough work in to get the performances she's been capable of. Hats off to the medical team and the strength and conditioning staff."

Hansen was equally relieved.

"My back is definitely something I will always have to manage.

"I had some chronic issues, but I managed to get on top of that as my body got stronger. Hopefully that won't be a handbrake.

"'Weapon' [Peden] was going to pull the pin [on the campaign] because the big goal is the Tokyo Olympics, but so many were working around clock to get me up to speed. Without that, I wouldn't have competed this week."