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