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