An undaunted New Zealand men's team sprint will race for gold against Germany at the track cycling World Cup today, despite finishing 0.25s behind the same opponents in qualifying.
Harnessing the crowd's roar, Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins put the disappointment of 16th at the last World Cup in Colombia to clock 43.401s and deliver a spot in the final.
Webster believed the Germans would hold no edge heading into the final, despite the teams' respective times.
"They've got no psychological advantage. We're at home with the crowd behind us, but to have them banging the boards today in that qualifier was absolutely amazing.
"To be starting in the back straight for the final means halfway through our laps the crowd in the front straight will be roaring us home. That small advantage could help.
"Today we gave everything we had in the tank. We were looking to find something else and we delivered, but we have to hunt for more."
The Kiwis slipped back 0.078s after the lead out effort of Mitchell, Webster pulled them back in front by 0.001s with the fastest second lap of the meet before Dawkins dropped 0.251s bringing them home.
The trio's average speed was 62.210km/h which, in the context of the competition, made for a stirring performance.
"We were up through the 500m and we know we can improve our laps," Webster said.
"It was more a coincidence the Germans were on the other side of the track. We were racing ourselves. It was good to execute a tidy ride with smooth technical changeovers and everyone dialed in together.
"We'll sit down together before the final and think about straightening some of our lines and riding a bit tighter to find the extra speed to win gold."
The result is a pleasant contrast to the Cali meet in October when, in an open air velodrome, Dawkins was unable draft onto the wheel of Webster in front. Germany went on to win overall.
Much of the athlete talk yesterday was that the track rode "heavy", a reference to a lack of heat in the boards from the internal atmosphere which can help with speed.
"Hotter is better," Mitchell said. "A big crowd could help warm the place up too, there were a few spare seats floating around."
The Australian Team Jayco AIS trade team were third with Britain, Russia, the Netherlands, France and Poland rounding out the top eight.
In the women's discipline New Zealand's Katie Schofield led out Natasha Hansen on their way to setting the eighth fastest 33.987s. China topped qualification in 32.711s.