Marc Ryan aiming for cycling gold in Glasgow
Timaru's Marc Ryan is hoping to go one better at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow than he did in Delhi four years ago, but it won't be easy.
The 31-year-old is the elder statesman of the New Zealand team pursuit, which also includes Waimate's 19-year-old Dylan Kennett.
Ryan won bronze in Melbourne in 2006, and then silver in Delhi four years later in the 4km team pursuit.
The unassuming athlete also has two Olympic bronze medals, but is yet to stand on the top of a podium at either Games, so Glasgow may be his best opportunity.
The BikeNZ team has been based at their Bordeaux training camp and heads to Glasgow today.
Ryan said the team's buildup had been good. Before going to France they had done a lot of work in Belgium.
"We were straight into it when we got there."
Ryan has switched from leading out the team, which is now Kennett's responsibility, to the third wheel.
"That is a bit easier on the body for me, and the young guys have a lot of grunt, which is great. We have a pretty good mix and our efforts here have been good; we are right on the money."
The team had also changed strategy, with each rider going further each time they took a turn at the front, doing a lap and three-quarters.
Ryan said they go through the 3km mark with only two turns at the front each.
"The race feels like it is over faster. I think we are at another level, especially with the young guys."
The multi-medallist is also in line for a place in the individual pursuit, where up to three Kiwis can ride.
"Five of us are in contention and Novvie (Timaru's Shane Archbold) is going really good as well."
Ryan said he expected the toughest competition to come from Australia and England.
"England have plenty of horsepower, and Bradley Wiggins has come back, so he is going to be handy. It is pretty much their world team, with two from the Olympics, plus Wiggins."
Ryan said Australia also had a strong team with the return of Jack Bobridge from the road.
Bobridge won gold in the individual pursuit and team pursuit in Delhi and joins 2014 team pursuit world champions Glenn O'Shea, Luke Davison and Miles Scotson.
Ryan said any Games was a big occasion, and being in the village was a special part of it.
"It is always great to be riding for New Zealand."
Kennett is also set to ride in the 20km scratch race, with Archbold likely to contest the 40km points race.
The preliminary rounds of the team pursuit are being contested on the opening day of cycling, which is July 24.
- The Timaru Herald