An­drews claims ti­tle

Waipa Post - - The Country - BY IAN HEPENSTALL

Hal­berg Emerg­ing Tal­ent winner El­lesse An­drews grabbed her first elite hon­our on day two of the Ocea­nia Track Cy­cling Cham­pi­onships in Ade­laide.

The 18 year old, based in Cam­bridge, won the elite women's 3000m in­di­vid­ual pur­suit ti­tle at the Ade­laide Su­per-Drome to head the New Zealand per­for­mances on a day dom­i­nated by the host na­tion.

The other ti­tle for New Zealand on day two went to Can­ter­bury's Lau­rence Pithie, step­ping up from the un­der-17 grades to win the ju­nior men's in­di­vid­ual pur­suit.

An­drews, who was sixth at the Com­mon­wealth Games in her first in­di­vid­ual pur­suit over the longer 3000m dis­tance, clocked 3:35.379 to top qual­i­fy­ing in the af­ter­noon and won the fi­nal over Aus­tralia's Maeve Plouffe in 3:38.380 in the evening.

Cen­tral Otago teenager Ni­cole Shields, a ju­nior world track medal­list last year, stepped up to the elite ranks to fin­ish third.

An­drews started strongly but the Aus­tralian be­gan to close the mar­gin be­fore the Kiwi re­acted to win with a com­fort­able three sec­ond mar­gin.

“To do 3:35 for my first one which is not far off my PB and to back that up with the fi­nals ride just a lit­tle bit slower but get the gold was pretty cool too. I knew it was pretty tight and started to press it down with three or four laps to go and man­aged to keep the gaps.”

An­drews said the move to the longer 3000m suited her.

“I quite like it. I ap­proach it very dif­fer­ently and I have to learn to hold the pace and just rip my legs off re­ally. It is good to learn new skills to be able to ride the 3km.”

Shields, a team­mate of An­drews in their ju­nior world cham­pi­onship pur­suit medal two years ago, was pleased with her podium ef­fort.

“It's the first ride of the sea­son af­ter com­ing off a big win­ter block. It is a good start to build on and I'm look­ing for­ward to the rest of the sea­son.”

Pithie was fastest in qual­i­fy­ing for the ju­nior 3000m in­di­vid­ual pur­suit in 3:21.378 and was a frac­tion slower in win­ning the fi­nal a few hours later in 3:23.212, hold­ing off Aus­tralian Oliver Bled­dyn by two sec­onds.

The Christchurch rider ticked off some big boxes with his win in Ade­laide.

“First ma­jor win, first time rac­ing over­seas and first time rac­ing Un­der 19s. It is a re­ally big step-up from rac­ing Un­der 17s. The rac­ing is so much harder,” said Pitchie. “I geared down for the fi­nal be­cause the legs were a bit tired from the morn­ing ride which worked out well. I was two sec­onds slower in the fi­nal but it was smoother with the smaller gear but just as hard. My fo­cus was to ride to my time tonight in the fi­nal and now worry about my op­po­nent. I knew if I kept to my sched­ule I would be able to roll him.”

In other rides, Emma Cum­ming and Olivia Pod­more were sec­ond and third re­spec­tively be­hind World and Com­mon­wealth Games team sprint cham­pion Kaarle McCul­loch in the 500m time trial.

Zac Wil­liams was the best of the Van­tage elite rid­ers in the men's 1000m time trial, pushed out of the sil­ver medal po­si­tion by just 0.03 of a sec­ond, while Com­mon­wealth Games medal­list Camp­bell Ste­wart was third in the om­nium in his first track ap­pear­ance af­ter re­turn­ing from a road con­tract in Europe.

Photo / Kevin An­der­son, Chameleon Pho­tog­ra­phy

El­lesse An­drews on the way to vic­tory in the women’s 3000m in­di­vid­ual pur­suit at the Ocea­nia Track Cy­cling Cham­pi­onships in Ade­laide.

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