Cycling great Hoy tips NZ team for men's sprint

ALEXANDRA PATRIKIOS
Last updated 03:01 17/07/2014
NZ cycling sprint team
Getty Images

TIPPED FOR SUCCESS: The New Zealand men's sprint cycling team (from left) Sam Webster, Simon Van Velthooven, Ethan Mitchell and Eddie Dawkins.

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Cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy says the emerging New Zealand men's sprint group is a major threat at the Commonwealth Games, rating them even higher than the Australians.

The Olympic champion said the Australians were traditionally the strongest team and set the benchmark for their international rivals.

But at this year's Games, he said the bigger threat to the home sides could well come from reigning men's team sprint champions, New Zealand.

Kiwi cyclists Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster claimed New Zealand's first ever men's team sprint world title in Colombia earlier this year.

They are all part of the country's Commonwealth Games track cycling team alongside teammates Matt Archibald and Simon van Velthooven.

But Hoy said strong offerings from Trinidad and Malaysia meant the competition would be tough.

"It's really going to be a world standard event, especially in the men's sprint event," he said.

In 2012, the Great Britain team dominated the London Games cycling events, taking home seven gold medals.

Hoy said the division of riders into Scottish, Welsh and English for the Commonwealth Games wouldn't significantly weaken the local medal chances.

"There's more of us now because we've got more teams involved," he said.

"So the challenge won't be any less for the Aussies."

Hoy was in Glasgow on Wednesday to officially open the airport's newly refurbished international arrivals hall.

Now 38, he is Great Britain's most successful Olympian with with six gold and one silver.

The Edinburger had hoped to follow up his London Games success by competing at the Glasgow Games.

However, he retired from competitive cycling in 2013.

Hoy admitted he was looking forward to enjoying the Games without the pressure to perform himself - even if it meant watching alongside the Australian contingent.

"The home support will welcome the Aussies," he said.

"But there'll be that little bit extra for the Scottish."

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- AAP

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