NZ will miss 'powerhouse'

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 06/08/2012
Jesse Sergent
Getty Images

POWERHOUSE: Jesse Sergent, part of the bronze-medal winning pursuit team.

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New Zealand's pursuit team will miss the man with the biggest motor of them all, Jesse Sergent, in the future.

And without the twice Olympic Games bronze medallist, his Palmerston North coach Mike McRedmond doubts whether the Kiwi quartet would have got on the podium in London on Saturday.

Sergent, 24, is now likely to abandon the track for the road to fulfil the demands of his RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team in Europe.

"Jesse was the difference between the team medalling and not medalling," McRedmond said. "He was the engine room of that team."

To prove it, McRedmond explained how Sergent took the long, hard laps in the ride-off for the bronze medal against Russia.

"Jesse was quite outstanding, to be able to take two double laps and finish with 2 laps. He really was a powerhouse."

It is not the first time Sergent has powered the team to medals. He also won bronze at the Beijing Olympics four years ago and two bronzes at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, in the individual and team pursuits.

McRedmond felt the New Zealand team were untidy when they came up against the Australians last week, and when Sergent put the pace on, Aaron Gate dropped off.

In the bronze medal ride against the Russians the team was sound technically, but still reliant on Sergent's power. If the individual pursuit had not been cruelly dumped from the London Games, McRedmond was certain his charge would have been on the podium in that too.

McRedmond can't see Sergent competing at the next Commonwealth Games at Glasgow in two years. Three of the top four teams in London were from Commonwealth countries, with Great Britain setting a world record in beating the Australians in the final. Even the Kiwis set a New Zealand record of 3min 55s in their bronze medal ride-off.

The professional road teams do not hold the Commonwealth Games in high esteem and will be reluctant to release their riders for it.

"Now Jesse will be going back to the road. We definitely won't see him on the track next summer.

"His career now is the road and at the end of the day, that's what pays the bills."

Already this year he has ridden the Giro d'Italia. His comment on Twitter yesterday: "The crowds today were amazing, so, so loud. Struggled to hear myself breathing."

McRedmond's other rider, Simon van Velthooven, takes on the kierin qualifying tomorrow between 9pm and 10.19pm (NZ time).

McRedmond predicts it will be a tough final to qualify for.

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- Manawatu Standard

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