Published Saturday 04 August 2012

New Zealand’s men’s team pursuit cyclists rode superbly to grab the bronze medal at the Olympic velodrome today.
It was New Zealand’s third medal of the day, following the two golds won by the rowers earlier.
The pursuiters – Sam Bewley, Marc Ryan, Jesse Sergent and Aaron Gate – thus defended the bronze medal New Zealand won in Beijing in 2008. Westley Gough, after riding in the qualifying rounds yesterday, was omitted in favour of Gate.
New Zealand certainly deserved their medal.
In the first round yesterday they recorded 3min 37.607s for the 4km, which placed them third.
Today they rode against the crack Australian team in an attempt to earn themselves a gold medal ride. The Australians were too good, but even so the New Zealanders recorded a sizzling 3min 55.952s.
This earned them a ride in the bronze medal race, where they dealt summarily with the Russians, recording 3min 56.442s to win by 1.3s. The New Zealanders trailed fractionally at the halfway point, but with Jesse Sergent stepping up, they were too strong in the second half of the race.
The gold medal, and another world record, went to Britain in a scarcely credible 3min 51.659s. Australia took the silver with 3min 54.581s.
In the women’s keirin, New Zealander Natasha Hansen had a busy day. She finished third in her heat, but qualified for the second round when she was second in the repechage.
Hansen missed out on the finals when she was fifth in her second round race. In the ride-off for places 7-12, she finished 11th.
The New Zealand women’s team pursuits have left themselves a tough task tomorrow in the hunt for a bronze medal.
Lauren Ellis, Jaime Nielsen and Alison Shanks recorded 3min 20.421 in their qualifying round, good enough only for fifth behind Great Britain, the United States,
Australia and Canada.
Tomorrow they will need to go faster if they are to get into a ride-off for the bronze.