World Cup Track Melbourne 2009 -2010
Team Pursuit - New Zealand qualify fastest
New Zealand pursuit team, qualified in first place for the final and will go up against the British team, who narrowly qualified second ahead of the Australian trio for the final.
The British team have arrived with a new combination and despite having two of their experienced members, managed to drop Joanne Rowsell with 1000m to go. Wendy Houvenaghel and Katie Colclough were too strong and Rowsell, could not keep contact when she missed a switch.
In the pits, the anxious Australia team, watched as the British team fell close to their time when Rowsell dropped off. Sarah Kent, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Josie Tomic held their breath as they hoped the British team would drop below their time. Some how Rowsell found a last bit of effort to get her team into the Gold medal ride.
Qualifying fourth was the Ukrainian team. They were the only team with the same line up from 2009 championships. They looked slick but lost valuable seconds in the final lap.
The most exciting race, was that of the Dutch team. The team comprised of two the fastest sprinters in the world, Willy Kanis and Yvonne Hijgenaar and Ellen van Dijk, better known for Scratch and Points racing. The sprinters set off first and set a blistering pace, leaving Van Dijk to chase to get on their wheels. Eventually she made contact and the trio put in a credible performance finishing seventh.
Alison Shanks, Rushlee Buchanan and Lauren Ellis (NZL) were very happy with their performance, Shanks felt there was more to come, “It was the first world cup for the team, we have a new rider that is different from the World Championship team, so it was great to have that first hit out of the season,” said Shanks
Asked if the team could beat the British in the final, Shanks added, “I am sure we can go faster. This morning we got the nerves out of the way. There are lots of little things, that we are still building on to get those extra few seconds for sure.”
Ellen van Dijk, Willy Kanis and Yvonne Hijgenaar (NED) was excited to be riding the Team Pursuit and overjoyed to complete it, “Willy and Yvonne [Kanis and Hijgenaar], promised they would go slow at the start for me,” said Van Dijk. “They could not help themselves and I had to chase. That was a fun race though,” she added.
Josie Tomic, Sarah Kent and Ashlee Ankudinoff (AUS) were disappointed not to have made the ride off for gold, “All three of us are carry niggling injuries but we had a great ride. It was the third fastest that we have ever done as a team, so we are pleased. We really wanted to get in for the gold, but, it is stepping stones and next year is the goal. We are just chipping away at the time of the British, one day we will get them,” said Tomic
Helen Kelly, Rochelle Gilmore and Skye-Lee Armstrong (RODEN) are a completely new team and only really have one true pursuit riders in the team. Kelly was not disappointed with their performance, “Skye-lee and Rochelle are both scratch and points riders, where I am a pure pursuit rider. Bringing the three of us together was challenging. We were limited with practice, they were in Manchester and I was in New Zealand at the Oceania Championships, which made it very difficult. We got a couple of practice sessions in this week but we still have a way to go,” said Kelly.
Dan Hunt (Endrance Performance Coach GBR) was very happy with the performance of the team, “We have no Lizzy [Armitstead] or Rebecca [Romero] who are our other two World Champions in this event. We have travelled around the world here. We are not looking to post fast times, we did that in Manchester. They have proved they are the fastest in the world, it is not all about winning, it is about bringing young people into the team. One at a time and getting them up to the standard of the other, sub 3:22 performers, so that we have a pool of riders we can choose from. We can then go to world cup events with strong teams, rather than the best riders all the time,” said Hunt.
Looking to the final, Hunt added, “The Kiwi's have a little bit of time on us. We just have to go out there and run at them. We will turn it into a drag race and see what happens.”
With the decision to include the team event in the London Olympics, Hunt said, “Team Pursuit is the new pursuiting. Where we had riders fighting for a spot, we now have the luxury of 5-6 riders to look at for the event to pick 3,”
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