Sprinters don't expect an easy ride in Glasgow
NATHAN BURDON IN GLASGOW
The greatest pressure to perform for New Zealand's world champion team sprinters will come from within the squad itself, according to high performance director Mark Elliott.
The Anthony Peden-coached trio of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins completed New Zealand's first world title in the 750-metre orgy of speed which is the team sprint at the Cali world championships earlier this year.
It was the culmination of a project which had seen the New Zealanders climb their way up the podium after claiming silver in Minsk the previous year and bronze in Melbourne in 2012.
"I think the pressure only comes from them wanting to perform to what they know is their full capacity and potential," Elliott said.
"Being world champions is obviously something these guys are going into for the first time - carrying that mantle - but I think the key thing is that Anthony is focusing them on delivering above what they did at the world champs. If they do that then the pressure will take care of itself."
New Zealand is unlikely to have an easy roll to Commonwealth Games team sprint gold at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
The German team the New Zealanders just edged out in Cali won't be there, of course, nor the bronze medal-wining French, but two of the three Great Britain riders will be lining up for England.
"We also know how good the Aussies are," Elliott said.
"The word coming out of Australia is that they are in great form. They've done a lot more buildup in Australia than they have in the past, so we know they are focusing on the really important stuff, because they've had the time to do so."
The New Zealand sprint squad completed an 11-week training phase at their new Cambridge base before departing for a month in the United States cycling mecca of Trexlertown in Pennsylvania.
It's understood the men's sprinters were producing some of their best times during training and racing in the US.
"They were going there to train and the racing was part of it, but not all of it. They were doing three or four sessions a day, with racing included, so they were doing some hard yards and that's what it's all about at that stage," Elliott said.
They then moved on to New Zealand's traditional pre-event training base in the French port city of Bordeaux, where they joined the rest of the BikeNZ squad for the first time since the buildup to the London Olympics.
"We've used Bordeaux since 2008," Elliott said.
"The great thing about Bordeaux is that it's a quiet track, there's an ability just to get in there and do your work without much distraction going on. It's a beautiful town, but that town's a wee way from the track so the athletes can get on with their work. One flight from Bordeaux and you can pretty much get anywhere in Europe."
New Zealand's hopes don't rest solely with the team sprint.
The team pursuit combination of Dylan Kennett, Aaron Gate, Pieter Bulling and Marc Ryan won bronze in Cali, while Ryan backed up with bronze in the individual pursuit.
Simon van Velthooven won bronze in the 1000m time trial at the world championships, and the same colour in the keirin at the London Olympics, while Tom Scully was a silver medallist in the points race in Cali.
Australia, and to a lesser extent England, have been the dominant nations in Games track cycling since 1934, but New Zealand will expect to feature heavily on the podium in Glasgow.
- The Southland Times