Led by a brilliant performance by Ally Wollaston, New Zealand earned two further medals on the final day to complete a highly successful UCI Nations Cup campaign in Cairo today.
The kiwis won four medals at Cairo to go with the six earned in the first Nations Cup at Jakarta last month.
Today’s medals went to Tom Sexton and George Jackson with a bronze in the madison, while Wollaston earned a stunning come-from-behind victory in the four-discipline omnium.
Earlier in the competition New Zealand claimed a silver medal in the women’s team pursuit and bronze in the women’s madison for Bryony Botha and Wollaston.
The UCI Nations Cup competitions replace the previous world cup programmes, and are mandatory for nations seeking rankings to qualify for the world championships and ultimately, the Paris Olympics.
The New Zealand track team’s outstanding performances have earned significant rankings points for the world championships which has delighted new Cycling New Zealand high performance director, Ryan Hollows.
“It has been mission accomplished for the track team. We needed to fire to earn the ranking points to qualify for this year’s world championships, which is the key stepping stone to qualify for the Paris Olympics,” said Hollows.
“While we await the updated standings, we believe we are in excellent shape in our key events to have secured qualification for the worlds in Glasgow in August.
“More than that, some of our riders have produced performances of world class coming out of a summer of training at our base in Cambridge.
“I want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication from our coaches, the high performances staff and especially the riders.”
Hollows said they are likely to take a small team to the final Nations Cup in Milton, Canada next month.
Wollaston has emerged as the individual star with three gold medals in Jakarta and a further three in Cairo to announce her arrival at the sharp end of international track competition.
After a silver in the team pursuit and bronze with Bryony Botha in the madison, her final medal came with a gold in the four-discipline omnium, to follow her win in the same event in Jakarta.
Wollaston started emphatically, winning the opening scratch race and the tempo but got squeezed for room to be outed early in the elimination race. She was in fourth place going into the all-important points race, 10 points from the leader.
But she went on an early attack to gain a lap on the field with the 20 bonus points elevating her into the top three. Wollaston then dug deep as France’s Victoire Berteau grabbed the lead when she lapped the field.
Wollaston won two vital sprints, with points awarded every 10 laps, and then was third in the final double points sprint to secure the title.
She finished on 139 points, Berteau on 131 and Denmark’s Amalie Dideriksen third ahead of world champion Jennifer Valente (USA).
The combination of Tom Sexton and George Jackson rode a clever race in the 160-lap men’s madison to earn the bronze medal.
They made their mark early when they snuck off the front of the field in a solo break to gain a lap on the field and the 20 bonus points. Their lead shrunk with challenges from the European powerhouses led by Germany who pushed into the overall lead before Netherlands gained a lap.
The kiwis recovered late in the race to get handy, picking up points in the final two sprints to secure the bronze in a superb ride.
Both Tokyo Olympic medallist Ellesse Andrews and track newcomer Rebecca Petch qualified from the women’s keirin heats.
Petch went out in her first quarterfinal at this level while Andrews won her race but despite a strong sprint off the front in her semifinal, she was pipped for the final qualifying spot for the final.
Andrews went on to win the ride-off for seventh to 12th placings emphatically as she works encouragingly back to her best form.
Earlier Callum Saunders clocked 10.175s in qualifying for the men’s sprint, to make it through to the match racing. However he went out in the first round.
The final Nations Cup is in Milton, Canada next month.