Cyclist Steph McKenzie looks to the future

NATHAN BURDON IN GLASGOW
Last updated 09:08 25/07/2014
Steph McKenzie
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
SURPRISE: New Zealand track cyclist Steph McKenzie impressed with her surprising fourth-placed finish at the Commonwealth Games.

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New Zealand track cyclist Steph McKenzie was already focusing on the future after her surprising fourth-placed finish at the Commonwealth Games today.

The Auckland-raised Southland representative lowered her own personal best by half a second and broke the New Zealand 500m time trial record in the process - all despite being a late inclusion in the team for Glasgow.

''[The] time was a little bit [quicker] than I expected so I was pretty chuffed to see the time up on the board, but fourth - you've got to settle with a PB, but a dirty fourth - you want to come back a wee bit hungrier,'' McKenzie, who led the standings with two heats to go, said.

''I've definitely improved and I think it's really good to see the coaches with a smile on their faces. I'm really trying to keep women's sprinting alive in New Zealand. I think I've done a good job, there's more to come.''

The more to come could be the return of a women's team sprint combination, something which hasn't featured in the New Zealand programme since Natasha Hansen and Katie Schofield were unable to qualify for the London Olympics.

McKenzie, who has managed to balance her cycling career with life as a diabetic, is eager to reform her partnership with Southland teammate Natasha Hansen at international level.

''We are looking at trying to get a team sprint together for worlds, so that's our next thing. Hopefully there will be another [woman] with me.''

It wasn't the perfect ride from McKenzie, with a little wheel wobble at the start stemming from a small technical flaw with some overly rigid shoulders.

''The hiccup at the start kind of gave me more motivation to keep on going, to go harder. Every 500 is different, but every 500 is getting faster.''

McKenzie, who will ride the individual sprint on Saturday, didn't need to look far for inspiration with incomparable Australian Anna Meares breaking her own Games record on the way to a third straight time trial gold.

McKenzie credited her male sprinting counterparts with helping her find form for Glasgow.

''Training with the boys - it's a really good atmosphere, good feel. They are like brothers to me really, it's quite cool.''

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