New Zealand riders have matched last year’s record tally of four medals at the 2011 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in the Netherlands. The championships, which were held at Omnisport Apeldoorn, finished on the 28th March.
Experienced Christchurch Road Olympian Joanne Kiesanowski finished ninth overall in the women’s omnium – a new Olympic multi-discipline event in track cycling. Young Southland sprinter Eddie Dawkins finished 10th in the men’s kilo time trial, while the combination of Tom Scully of Invercargill and Aaron Gate of Auckland saw them place 13th in a stacked field in the 50km Madison.
BikeNZ High Performance Director Mark Elliott said the championships had been a definite pass mark for the team, who will face real challenges over the next 16 months during the count down to the London Olympics.
He says the four medals matches the best New Zealand achieved last year in Denmark. However two of those came in the individual pursuit, which, while important to BikeNZ’s overall programme, won’t be event contested at the Olympics.
Mark says significant gains in the last three years have been made to move in to the same stratosphere as the super powers in the sport like Great Britain, Australia, France and Germany, and now improvements are in small increments.
The results show that New Zealand is up there in the omnium, and our sprinters are making gradual improvement as a very young group. However Mark says while we are within striking distance of the podium in our key events, it’s going to get tougher, as some of the other strong cycling nations like the Netherlands, Russia and Spain start to really gear up for the Olympics. To achieve success in London Mark says the New Zealand team will need to work harder and smarter across the board, if it is to build towards success in London in sixteen months’ time.
The endurance track riders will return to the track later in the year when the UCI World Cup series begins in December.