Bevin, Gaze find success in games buildup
Waikato cyclists Sam Gaze and Patrick Bevin are looking strong heading into July's Commonwealth Games, after good performances in European races yesterday.
Te Awamutu's Gaze, 18, finished third in the under-23 race at the latest round of the mountain bike World Cup in the Czech Republic.
Over in Ireland, Taupo's Patrick Bevin won the green jersey in the eight-day Tour of Ireland, after gaining the most points in the sprint classification.
Gaze put in a strong performance in the cross-country race at Nove Mesto na Morave to claim third place.
It was an improvement on Gaze's last effort in a world cup meet, when he finished sixth in Cairns earlier this month.
Gaze led after the first lap but dropped back when he flatted on the third lap and had a minor mechanical on the next, as Michiel van der Heijden (Netherlands) and Jordan Sarrou (France) pushed away in the lead.
The New Zealander recovered to out-sprint Victor Koretzky (France), the winner of the last round in Cairns, for the final place on the podium.
"It was amazing. I went into it not knowing what to think. After the first lap I knew I was in for a good day," Gaze said. "Unfortunately, I got a flat tyre on the third lap and that cost me maybe 40 seconds.
"That aside, I thought I was strong and I managed to ride myself into third."
Former junior world champion and fellow Glasgow qualifier Anton Cooper was 16th in the same race, coming back from an enforced break due to illness.
Queenstown's Kate Fluker was 24th in the elite women's race.
Meanwhile, Bevin's breakthrough 2014 season continued in claiming the green jersey in Ireland. Kiwi team-mates Cameron Karwowski and Hamish Schreurs worked hard to ensure Bevin was in position to win the sprint points on offer during the final stage.
Bevin worked his way up to the leading group in the peloton, riding to protect his lead in the race for the green jersey. He won two stages during the eight-day tour and had the tour lead before team-mates Marc Ryan and Liam Aitcheson fell ill.
Without their added firepower, the New Zealand team struggled to support Bevin in his pursuit of the yellow jersey, but did enough to secure him the green.
Austria's Clemens Fankhauser won the tour ahead of Brit Alex Peters.
Bevin said he was delighted with the performance. The New Zealand team were competing in the Tour of Ireland as a build-up to Glasgow.
Bevin was a surprise inclusion in the New Zealand track cycling team after a stunning display at the Elite and Under-19 Track Cycling Championships in February.
He forced the selectors' hand with his efforts at the Avantidrome, winning gold in the points race, silver in the individual pursuit, and bronze in the scratch race.
The New Zealand squad return to their base in Belgium today.