Cy­cling team wins in Canada

Te Awamutu Courier - - News -

The Van­tage New Zealand women’s team pur­suit com­bi­na­tion scored their sec­ond medal in as many weeks at the UCI Track Cy­cling World Cup in Mil­ton, Canada.

Rush­lee Buchanan, El­lesse An­drews, Bry­ony Botha (all of Te Awa­mutu Sports Cy­cling Club) and Kirstie James won the bronze medal after a tough 4000m ride off against Ger­many - only 0.4 sec­onds sep­a­rat­ing the two teams.

The women’s team pur­suit also had a tight bat­tle with Italy in the semi­fi­nal, los­ing by a mere 0.2s. It earned them the bronze medal ride.

New Zealand had a re­vamped line-up with reg­u­lar starter Rac­quel Sheath (Te Awa­mutu Sports) com­pet­ing at the Lon­don Six-Day event. An­drews was brought in for Holly Ed­mond­ston, who was ill after mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant re­turn after a year off with in­jury.

Great Bri­tain proved the class of the con­test to win the gold medal in 4:18.138 from Italy with the Ki­wis post­ing the sec­ond fastest time over­all.

“This was a good cam­paign for the women’s team en­durance,” said Buchanan. “We have a few new riders so it was great to come away with good re­sults when rid­ing new line ups.

“With a sil­ver and a na­tional record in Paris and a bronze in Mil­ton I’d say it was a suc­cess­ful start to the 2019 sea­son.”

Buchanan said it was just the be­gin­ning for her.

“I was more or less do­ing the block on road legs. I came in late after com­plet­ing my (United Health Care) team du­ties over­seas so didn’t have any team pur­suits in my legs prior to go­ing out and get­ting the na­tional record. So I’m pleased with that, a good start­ing point for my sea­son.”

UHC is one of the pro­fes­sional teams that are end­ing.

“While dis­ap­pointed, I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to be­ing based in New Zealand more, es­pe­cially do­ing some more TA club races,” she said.

“It was an­other good year with them (UHC) this year. I achieved some per­sonal goals while also help­ing the team take many hon­ours in the USA and Europe.

“Both the men’s and women’s squads are end­ing so I’m tak­ing this op­por­tu­nity to now com­pletely fo­cus on track and what I need to do to get to Tokyo. The cy­cling New Zealand team is one of the best high per­for­mance pro­grammes in the world so why not fo­cus on be­ing a part of that.”

Buchanan said her past year with UHC was pretty con­densed.

“After the Com­mon­wealth Games I went to UHC in May and raced with them through to July. My big­gest per­sonal achieve­ments were ac­tu­ally hav­ing a few good TT (time trial) re­sults.”

She placed fifth in a UCI TT in Canada and in her last race with UHC placed seventh in the TT and eighth on gen­eral clas­si­fi­ca­tion in the BeNe Ladies Tour in Bel­gium. BeNe is a sec­ond ranked tour. Her eighth plac­ing over­all was her best ever GC re­sult on the road.

“Again my role for the team was mainly to sup­port key riders,” said Buchanan.

“It was crazy do­ing the women’s ‘La Course’ where we raced in the French Alps. I knew it wasn’t a race for me but it was cool do­ing the same course as the men’s tour that day.”

Buchanan rounded out her year rid­ing with the New Zealand team, do­ing a Madi­son in Ger­many with Rac­quel Sheath where they placed sec­ond.

Photo / Guy Swar­brick

The New Zealand women’s team pur­suit on the podium in Mil­ton, Canada. From left: El­lesse An­drews, Rush­lee Buchanan, Bry­ony Both and Kir­tie James.

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