Criglington primed for title defence

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 06/03/2014

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Southland's Erin Criglington will proudly zip into her rainbow jersey on the second night of the national age-group track cycling championships in Invercargill tonight.

The Invercargill accountant won the world masters individual pursuit title in Manchester in October, along with silver medals in the 500m time trial and the scratch race.

She will get to don the colours tonight when she defends her national title in the W2 individual pursuit at the SIT Zero Fees velodrome.

"It's going to be really, really special. I'm really looking forward to it and it's another day tomorrow so we'll try for the record in that one."

Since returning from England, Criglington has been hanging the jersey and her world championships medals from a coat hanger in her dining room as added motivation to keep up her training heading into this week's national championships.

"Every time I walk in the door, the novelty still hasn't worn off. I will get something special done with it, but for now I can see it and realise that I did that. It seems like a lifetime ago,"' Criglington said.

"I think I got more emotional when Eddie [Dawkins] and the New Zealand team sprint boys won theirs than I did when I won mine - just the whole achievement of doing it, whether it's in the elites or the masters, it's still a hell of a lot of work."

Criglington comfortably won her 13th national title last night, taking out the W1 500m time trial.

She was just .011 outside her own New Zealand record.

"Never mind, there's always tomorrow. You've just got to go for it and hope like hell in a 500m."

Criglington also holds the record in the W1 2000m individual pursuit with a time of 2.32.814.

One of the rides of the night came in the M2 500m time trial with Southland's Jon Andrews taking more than a second off the New Zealand record.

Andrews was a 1992 Olympic representative in the 1000m time trial, finishing seventh, as well as a world championship (1993) and Commonwealth Games (1994) sprinter, before retiring at 27.

It has been almost 20 years to the day since he last rode a national championships, getting back onto a bike to support daughter Ellesse, who only took up track cycling late last year but claimed silver in the W17 500m time trial last night, with team mate Emma Cumming taking gold.

Auckland's Russell Scott broke his own New Zealand record on the way to defending his title in the M3 500m title.

The championships continue until Sunday, with a morning session from 10am today and finals in the individual pursuit and points race from 6.30 tonight, along with the elimination races in the under 19 men's and women's omnium.

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- Southland

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