New Zealand cycling girl-power to the fore with gold to Andrews and Botha

Road, Track & Cyclocross
Andrews v2

Girl-power was to the fore with victories to New Zealand stars Ellesse Andrews and Bryony Botha on the second day of the Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Brisbane.

Andrews took out the sprint title, while Botha won the individual pursuit final, events in which both riders won gold medals at last year’s Commonwealth Games.

There were strong performances by the New Zealand junior men where Southland’s Marshall Erwood claimed two titles in the elimination and scratch race.

Andrews topped qualifiers in the women’s sprint qualifying in 10.732s, with teammates Olivia King fourth fastest in 11.049s and Rebecca Petch 11th in 11.428s.

Andrews and King both won their first round match-races in the elite women, and their quarterfinal showdowns in two rides in the best of three format.

It drew the two New Zealanders together in the semifinal, won in two rides in the best-of-three format by Andrews over King, who later lost out in the bronze medal ride against Australian Breanna Hargrave.

Andrews was too strong and classy for Australia’s Kristina Clonan, winning in two straight rides for the gold medal.

It was a New Zealand dominance in the women’s 3000m individual pursuit qualifying headed by Commonwealth record holder Botha in 3:20.142 followed by teammates Emily Shearman in 3:26.211 and newcomer Sami Donnelly in 3:31.471

Botha was impressive in the final, clocking 3:21.425 to beat Shearman for the gold by nearly seven seconds, while Donnelly was edged out in the battle for the bronze medal by Australia’s Claudia Marcks by just 0.3s in a strong performance.

Commonwealth Games medallist Tom Sexton topped qualifiers in the men’s 4000m individual pursuit in 4:11.723, with Keegan Hornblow third fastest in 4:16.579s ahead of Kyle Aitkin in 1:16.989s.

Hornblow took out the bronze medal over Aitken in a classy 4:14.774, while Australia’s James Moriarty got up over Sexton in the men’s final with a world-class 4:09.955 winning time.

Callum Saunders was the best of the New Zealand qualifiers in the elite men’s sprint with a personal best 9.848s on a super-fast Anna Mears Velodrome, headed by Australia’s Matthew Richardson in 9.547s with Sam Dakin, in his first ride back from injury, 13th fastest in 10.194s.

Saunders and Dakin won through the first round of match-racing, but both were beaten in the second round.

In junior under-19 racing, the kiwi males dominated in the elimination race where the last rider goes out in sprints every two laps.

Erwood won the final sprint over teammate James Gardner to claim the title with Maui Morrison fourth and Magnus Jamieson fifth.

Erwood did not stop there, claiming the sprint finish to win the junior men’s scratch race over 10km ahead of teammate Austin Norwell with seven New Zealand riders in the top-10.

Georgia Simpson was the best of the kiwis in fifth place in the junior women’s elimination race.

Sunday’s elite racing comprises the omnium and keirin for men and women, while the Juniors ride the team pursuit, team sprint, time trial, women’s madison and men’s points race.

The competition finishes on Tuesday.

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