Team pursuit in hunt for Glasgow gold - Ryan

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 04/01/2014

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Experienced New Zealand cyclist Marc Ryan believes the team pursuit squad is more than capable of winning gold at this year's Commonwealth Games.

At 31, the double bronze medal Olympic representative is very much the senior figure in New Zealand's track cycling programme.

Ryan said he was excited by the ability of the team pursuit group, which includes promising young talents, Aaron Gate, Pieter Bulling and Dylan Kennett.

The Timaru rider was in the New Zealand team pursuit, consisting of Sam Bewley, Westley Gough and Jesse Sergent, who lost the gold medal ride to Australia at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Ryan, who is one of the star attractions at the Canterbury track carnival at the Denton Park velodrome which began last night and continues today, was confident the team pursuiters could go one better in Glasgow in July.

"I think so. Over the next couple of years it's all about stepping stones for the Olympics," Ryan told The Press.

"The younger guys are going to get stronger and gain more endurance with each campaign and each European year they do. It will be a good hitout for them [at the Commonwealth Games], being a young squad."

Ryan admitted he was unsure whether he would be around for what would be his fourth Olympic Games in 2016. He said he was taking things on a year-by-year basis and would see how the body and mind were feeling.

"I'll do the Commonwealth Games and see how I'm tracking after that. It's hard to say. I haven't really thought about the Olympics yet. It's too far down the track. It's always great to go and represent your country."

Ryan and the New Zealand track squad are building towards the world championships in Cali, Colombia, which will be held from February 26 to March 2.

He will be riding between 500 and 1000km on the road each week before the endurance squad join up for their camp at the start of February, where they will get back onto the track and lift the intensity.

Ryan was optimistic about the team pursuiters chances at the world championships and said they had set their targets high.

"I'd expect to go at least top four. We've showed some pretty good progress, especially with a young team.
"Colombia is going to be slightly different. It's going to be an outdoor track, so the times aren't going to be as fast. We're in the mix for top four, for sure."

The second and final night of racing at Denton Park gets underway at 6pm tonight.

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