Gate shows class, crashes mar opportunities for kiwi track cyclists

Road, Track & Cyclocross
GateOm1 v2


An exciting medal chase for Ellesse Andrews finished with a crash to put a damper on the New Zealand campaign on day two of the UCI Nations Cup track cycling in Adelaide.

Andrews was not the only rider in the kiwi team to hit the boards, with Bryony Botha coming down in a mix of riders in the hectic two-rider women’s madison, and world champion Aaron Gate stalled in his late chase by a crash in the men’s omnium.

Andrews, competing in the sprint competition, qualified sixth and had moved impressively through to the semifinal stage in match-racing. However she clipped the back wheel of Japanese rider, Mina Sato coming into the final lap of the first in the best-of-three semifinal. The kiwi rider fell heavily, with the medical team treating her before being taken away for further tests.

It meant Andrews was unable to continue in the competition, and is unlikely to be risked in today’s keirin competition given her high world ranking.

Meanwhile Botha was able to return to her race with Michaela Drummond, finishing a respectable fifth place, although after moving to a share of second place mid-race, they were only able to pick up a single point in the final five sprints.

The madison is a two-rider competition, with sprint points awarded every 10 laps of the 30kms (120 laps) race where one rider must be in-play at any time, swapping with a hand-sling to their teammate which creates a turbulent mix at times.

Points race world champion, Aaron Gate produced a superb second half of the four-discipline men’s omnium competition, finishing fourth only five points out of a medal, moving up from 12th after two events.

Gate was in 12th place following the 10km scratch race and 10km tempo race. He showed his supreme skill and endurance to win the elimination race, staying safe early, and then displaying his strength and speed to dominate the final five sprints to move up six spots to seventh overall, 22 points behind the leader.

He was the standout rider in the concluding Points race, the discipline where he is the individual world champion. The kiwi attacked throughout the exhausting 25km event where points are awarded every 10 laps, moving into medal contention.

His final move was thwarted when the race was reset following a crash 12 laps from the finish, with his main rivals able to recover sufficiently to mark the kiwi in the closing laps, finishing fourth only five points off the podium.

“I didn’t set it up too well in the first two races but reset and came back strongly,” said Gate.

“I gave it a good nudge but the crash didn’t play into my favour with my competitors starting to fatigue.

“I was proud how I raced the last two races tactically. I was missing that final zap in the sprint but is something that is not expected at this time of year, and after three hard team pursuits on the first day.

“Fourth is not a nice place to be because we are here to win. But we need to look at the big picture that the Olympics is not won in February, it is won in August. This is about the pathway towards that.

“I was proud how I rode the points race and gave it everything. It shows that the form is coming and with a few mini-tweaks that top podium spot is definitely not out of reach.”

New Zealand’s sole sprinter, Sam Dakin finished 11th in the men’s keirin, forcing his way into the 7-12th final where he rode powerfully but was edged on the line, but picked up useful points as he pushes to earn New Zealand a slot for the Paris Olympics.

Earlier Andrews qualified sixth fastest and fellow kiwi Shaane Fulton, in her first major Nations Cup two years after significant hip surgery, also qualified and worked through to the second round of match-racing.

The final day of competition sees Dakin in the men’s sprint, Ally Wollaston in the omnium, Olivia King, and Rebecca Petch in the keirin,  and Gate and Campbell Stewart in the madison.

Day 2 results:

Women Sprint, 200m qualifying: Emma Finucane (GBR) 10.414, 1; Mathilde Gros (FRA) 10.444, 2; Emma Hinze (GER) 10.497, 3. Also NZers qualified: Ellesse Andrews 10.716, 12; Shaane Fulton 11.033, 26.

Round 1: Andrews bt Julie Michaux (FRA); Fulton lost to Sophie Capewell (GBR). Round 2: Andrews bt Lauriane Genest (CAN). Quarterfinal: Andrews bt Katy Marchant (GBR) 2-0, Gros bt Kirstina Clonan (AUS) 2-0, Mina Sato (JPN) bt Finucane 2-0, Emma Hinze (GER) bt Lea Sophie Friedrich (GER) 2-1. Semifinal: Sato bt Andrews 2-0 (injury); Hinze bt Gros 2-0. Final: Hinze bt Sato 2-0.

Men’s Keirin: Repechage heat 3: Sam Dakin 1, Cheuk Hei To (HGK) 2, Shih Feng Kang (TPE) 3. Semifinal 1: Matthew Richardson (AUS) 1, Chenxi Xue (CHN) 2, Mohd Awang (MAS) 3. Semifinal 2: Shinji Nakano (JPN) 1, Jack Carlin (GBR) 2, Kaiya Ota (JPN) 3. Also: Sam Dakin (NZL)_ 5. Final 7-12: Maximilian Dornbach (GER) 7, Kento Yamasaki (JPN) 8, Vasilijus Lendel (LTU) 9. Also: Sam Dakin 11. Final: Mohd Aziz Awang (MAS) 1, Shinji Nakano (JPN) 2, Kaiya Ota (JPN) 3.

Men’s Omnium, Scratch race: Elia Viviani (ITA) 1, Roger Kluge (GER) 2, Kazushige Kuboki (JPN) 3. Also: Aaron Gate 13. Tempo: Jan Vones (CZE) 1, Colby Lange (USA) 2, Gavin Hooper USA) 3. Also: Gate 11.Elimination: Gate 1, Dylan Bibic (CAN) 2, Oliver Bleddyn (AUS) 3. Overall Points: Dylan Bibic (CAN) 104 points, Elia Viviani (ITA) 104, 2; Lindsay de Vylder (BEL) 101, 3; Aaron Gate 96, 4.

Women’s Madison: Great Britain (Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker) 31 points, 1; Australia (Georgia Baker, Alex Manly) 27, 2; USA (Jennifer Valente, Lily Williams) 23, 3. Also NZL (Bryony Botha, Michaela Drummond) 11, 5.

Men Points: Dylan Bibic (CAN) 104 points, 1; Elia Viviani (ITA) 104 (on countback), 2; Lindsay de Vylder (BEL) 101, 3; Aaron Gate (NZL) 96, 4.

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