Seven rid­ers place

Waipa Post - - The Country - BY IAN HEPENSTALL

Seven podium plac­ings without getting to the top step was the lot for the Van­tage New Zealand team on the fi­nal day of the Ocea­nia Track Cy­cling Cham­pi­onships in Ade­laide.

The cham­pi­onships, with qual­i­fy­ing points for the world cham­pi­onships and Tokyo Olympics, mark the be­gin­ning of the in­ter­na­tional sea­son, with the New Zealand team blood­ing a num­ber of de­vel­op­ing rid­ers and proven elites.

Best in the elite was sprinter Natasha Hansen who fin­ished run­ner-up to cur­rent world sprint sil­ver medal­list Stephanie Morton in the in­di­vid­ual sprint fi­nal. She beat Morton's world cham­pion team sprint part­ner Kaarle McCul­loch in the de­cid­ing third ride.

“I was happy with to­day. I had a good qual­i­fy­ing in the morn­ing. I didn't have the great­est races last night in the keirin so I was pleased to come back tonight and redeem my­self,” Hansen said. “Steph is so strong so I was try­ing the best tac­tics to up­set her but she was too strong at the mo­ment.”

The other elite podium plac­ing went to Sub­way Per­for­mance Hub rider Sam Dakin, third in the keirin fi­nal, won by world sprint cham­pion Matthew Glaet­zer (AUS).

Dakin won his repechage to earn a start in the semi­fi­nal where he was sec­ond be­hind Glaet­zer and he pro­duced an­other strong ride in the fi­nal, where team­mate Sam Web­ster was fifth.

Kiwi pair­ings fin­ished on the podium in both women's and men's Madi­son races.

World cham­pi­onship om­nium bronze medal­list, Rush­lee Buchanan paired with Michaela Drum­mond to fin­ish third only six points be­hind the win­ners, while Aaron Wyl­lie and Tom Sex­ton were sec­ond in the men's race.

Can­ter­bury's Lau­rence Pithie com­pleted an out­stand­ing cham­pi­onship with a sil­ver medal on count­back in the ju­nior points race and third in the scratch race af­ter win­ning the in­di­vid­ual pur­suit.

Pithie re­cov­ered from a crash on day three and bounced back de­spite bat­tling a sore knee.

“I went hard early and won the first sprint and was sec­ond in the next which put me in good stead. I missed the sprints through the mid-part of the race which put me back.

“The fi­nal sprint was dou­ble points but could only get fourth which left me on the same points as the winner so I had to be sec­ond on count­back.

South­land's Tyla Green, who won the ju­nior keirin on day three, fin­ished fourth in the in­di­vid­ual sprint.

Sub­way Per­for­mance Hub rid­ers Emily Paterson (South­land) and Eva Parkin­son (Waikato-BOP) fin­ished sec­ond in the ju­nior women's Madi­son, seven points from the win­ners.

The Van­tage Elite New Zealand team go to the start of the Tis­sot UCI World Cup com­pe­ti­tion over the next two week­ends in France and Canada.

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