NZ cyclists settle in for Colombian champs

Last updated 05:00 26/02/2014
Eddie Dawkins
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UP FOR A CHALLENGE: Southland's Eddie Dawkins will carry a heavy workload at the world track cycling championships which start in Colombia on Thursday.

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Inclement weather could play a significant part in the UCI Track Cycling World Championships that begin in Colombia on Thursday.

Yesterday's second practice session was cancelled after rain flooded the track in Cali, which has a roof but is open on the sides.

BikeNZ head coach Dayle Cheatley said strong winds and the wet weather could affect the outcome in some events during the five-day championships.

"We've been here before, but not at this time of year and the open sides has not been a factor," Cheatley said.

"But we've experienced winds during the training days and obviously today was a bit of a disaster when the heavy rain hit. It has forced us to rethink our approach. But the issue could come in something like the team pursuit qualifying which is 90 minutes duration with a team getting still conditions at the start and then the wind coming up at the end. Obviously if it rains then it will be impossible. I would expect plenty of hard questions at tomorrow's team managers' meeting."

The New Zealand team has settled well in the warm temperatures approaching 30C.

"It's a long trip to this part of the world so we left a couple of days earlier than usual to help combat this. All of the team are now settled and starting to produce some good times."

Auckland's Aaron Gate, who will defend his omnium world title, and Southland's Eddie Dawkins will have the heaviest workloads.

Gate will compete in the team pursuit on the first day and the omnium on days three and four, while Dawkins will contest the team sprint on Thursday, keirin on day two and the sprint on the final two days.

"Both riders are well experienced now and in great shape. They know how to manage themselves through this schedule," Cheatley said.

Cheatley said that riders can be substituted in both the team sprint and team pursuit, between qualifying and medal rounds, and also individual events.

Gate will be joined by Dylan Kennett (Waimate), Pieter Bulling (Invercargill) and Marc Ryan (Timaru) in the team pursuit, while Dawkins will anchor the team sprint with starter Ethan Mitchell and fellow Aucklander Sam Webster.

Manawatu's Simon van Velthooven will contest the keirin, the event he won the bronze medal at the London Olympics, and the 1000m time trial, in which he win the silver medal in Belarus last year.

"The key thing for us will be to stay focused if the weather plays a part. We have to focus on controlling what we can control."

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There is a further final training session today ahead of racing on Thursday with heats starting at 6am and finals from 12.45pm.

The BikeNZ team selections for the championships are:

Team Pursuit: Dylan Kennett, Pieter Bulling, Aaron Gate, Marc Ryan.
Omnium: Gate
Scratch: Kennett
Points: Tom Scully
Individual Pursuit: Ryan, Shane Archbold.
Madison: Archbold, Scully.
Team Sprint: Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins.
Sprint: Webster, Dawkins.
Keirin: Simon van Velthooven, Dawkins.
1000m time trial: Van Velthooven.

- The Southland Times

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