New Zealand enjoyed a triumphant opening night at the track cycling World Cup in Cambridge, winning three of the four golds on offer thanks to both pursuit teams and the men's sprint.

The three-time world champion men's team sprint claimed their first World Cup victory in over a year with two rides under 43 seconds at the Avantidrome.

That was matched with an emphatic victory by the women's pursuit team who fought hard before prevailing in the final over Canada last night and establishing a new national record in the process.

Both were eclipsed with a withering performance by the men's pursuit team, who set the second-fastest time in history on the way to beating Canada in 3m 50.159s, a new best time by more than two seconds.


New Zealand's Regan Gough, Campbell Stewart, Jordan Kerby and Nicholas Kergozou were just over a third of a second outside the world record in their gold medal ride, just shy of the 3m 49.804s set by Australia at last year's Commonwealth Games.

"Straight after we finished the ride, we could see Canada out of the corner of our eye, so I looked straight up at the board ... I knew we were going fast, but to ride that quick, you don't really think about it until it's happened," Stewart said.

"So, yeah, I looked straight up at the board and was amazed and then it's partly because of the crowd out there that really cheered us on all the way to the line. We couldn't even hear our coach telling us what to do, but I guess we were riding on feel and just kept on going."

The New Zealand team were in control throughout the competition, clocking the fastest time in qualifying before setting a new national record of 3m 51.722s, with Tom Sexton riding in place Kergozou. The record would survive only a few hours.

A fast 1m 02s opening kilometre set up New Zealand to power away with an increasingly vocal packed crowd cheering them on. Splits of 56s, 55s and 56s for the last three kilometres saw them come within touching distance of the world mark and again lower the New Zealand record.

Commonwealth Games silver medallists Rushlee Buchanan, Racquel Sheath, Kirstie James and Bryony Botha smashed their own national record on the way to gold, stopping the clock in 4m 16.028s.

"I did use the crowd [last night]," said Buchanan. "This is my home town and I've ridden this track so many times, and in the last K, you have absolutely nothing left and you're searching for something. The crowd bought it home and I think we really felt it, the guys and the girls, so we're super proud to do great rides in front of the home crowd.

"We came here wanting to do a good ride, we weren't focused on what colour medal we wanted to win, and we just wanted to execute really well and go out and chase it. So we went out fast to see what we can do, and the track's running really well, so we just thought 'let's do it'."


The previous record of 4m 17.560s set in October in Paris at the opening World Cup was lowered by more than 1.5s. Having earlier set the fastest time in qualifying (with Michaela Drummond riding in place of Buchanan), the quartet started the gold medal ride as slight underdogs, with Canada breaking the all-comers record in the first round.

Trailing by 0.2s at the 1000m mark, the quartet powered away in the second kilometre, opening a half-second advantage. With the crowd behind them, they pulled away further to the delight of the crowd to beat Canada by 1.242s.

Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins capped a stunning opening night for the home nation, winning gold for New Zealand in the men's team sprint.

A fraction off setting a new national record in the first round, Webster, Dawkins and Mitchell were slightly slower in a tough gold medal ride against Australia but produced a consistent performance to win their first World Cup event since 2017 in 43.121s.

"It's good to be back in the winner's circle," said Webster. "That ride in the first round, that's the second-fastest time we've ever done — I believe only the final in Rio was faster, and only just — so we really are back, knocking on the door now."

After much change in the past 12 months, Webster was thrilled they were able to string three excellent races together.

"I think that's testament to how we got through the past year, but also Rene's input [new sprint coach Rene Wolff] and this whole new evolution of how we're approaching the event, we're really starting to see some dividends."

Today's action features the women's sprint, men's keirin, women's omnium, men's scratch and madison. Four finals were contested last night and a further 10 events will be decided over the next two days.