The big guns stood up to be counted on the opening day of the national track cycling championships at Cambridge today.

The world champion pairing of Dylan Kennett (Mid South Canterbury) and Piet Bulling (Southland) are set to ride for gold this evening in the final of the men's 4000m individual pursuit, while Jaime Nielsen will take on Waikato BOP teammate Rushlee Buchanan in the women's 300m pursuit final in a repeat of last year.

Luke Mudgway (East Coast North Island) set the early pace at the Avantidrome, clocking a best 4:21.791 which stood until the final two rides. The 19-year-old was edged firstly by Bulling's excellent 4:20.846 - a best by around six seconds - and finally by Kennett in 4:19.545, his first time under 4:20.

Kennett has the chance to defend his national elite title against Bulling, who was fourth last year, while Mudgway takes on double Olympian and world championship medallist Marc Ryan for the bronze.


Cycling New Zealand women's endurance coach, Brendon Cameron was delighted with the form from his crack team pursuit combination who all set personal bests.

Nielsen finished top in 3:32.232 ahead of Buchanan in 3:34.446, while Southland's Kirstie James (3:34.519) rides against the experienced Mid South Canterbury rider Lauren Ellis (3:34.939) for the bronze medal tomorrow night.

In para-cycling action, Waikato-BOP's Nicole Murray won the 500m C1-C5 time trial in 42.211 ahead of Northland's Fiona Southorn, with Byron Raubenheimer claiming the men's 1000m time trial in 1:10.808 over Auckland compatriots Nick Blincoe and Devon Rogers.

Para-cycling world champions Emma Foy and Laura Fairweather won the women's tandem 1000m time trial in 1:10.228 ahead of Amanda Cameron and Hannah Latta.

In under-19 action, Emma Cumming won the women's 500m time trial in 35.195s ahead of fellow Southlander and first-year junior Ellesse Andrews in a new national championship record.

The men's under-19 1000m time trial was won by Southland's Bradly Knipe in 1:02.965, also a new championship record, from Manawatu's Campbell Stewart and another Southlander, Tom Sexton.