Rewriting cycling record books
The New Zealand women’s team pursuit quartet, including two Te Awamutu Sports’ riders, rewrote the record books at the opening Tissot UCI World Cup in France.
Kirstie James, Holly Edmondston and Te Awamutu Sports’ Rushlee Buchanan and Bryony Botha claimed their first World Cup silver medal and a New Zealand record, bettering the previous time set at the Rio Olympics.
New Zealand was pipped by just 0.6sec in an exciting final by Australia. The new-look team, under the guidance of new coaches Ross Machejefski and Alexandra Greenfield, qualified fastest. They disposed of Germany in the first round in 4:20.143. Australia set the marker with a 4:18.441 effort to beat the Italians to take the favourites tag into the final.
The Australian team opened the narrowest of leads after the first 1000m but there was little separating the two at 2000m with the gap at only 0.7s at 3000m.
The Kiwis fought back to almost pip the Australians in an exciting final four laps, having to settle for second in 4:17.560.
“It is a really good starting point,” said the experienced Buchanan.
“We are a fresh team and not tapered. It is the first time this group has ridden together, and while we had a few hiccups in the first two rides, we were calm and collected at the business end of the event.
“It is a testament to the work we have been doing and importantly the culture we have been creating, and the benefit of that came out in the final when we laid it down and had a ride we could be proud of.” National champion Kirstie James endorsed the impact of the new coaching staff and approach.
“The turning point has been the culture shift. We have developed a lot of trust with each other. A fresh start with new coaching staff and Cycling New Zealand staff in general has made a big impact in how we operate which I think is positive moving forward.”
The Vantage New Zealand women’s team pursuit of, from left, Kirstie James, Holly Edmondston, Bryony Botha and Rushlee Buchanan on the podium at the UCI Track World Cup competition in Paris.
New Zealand women’s team pursuit in action at the opening UCI Track World Cup competition in Paris.