So close to gold for sprint cyclists

New Zealand’s cycling sprint team missed out on a gold medal by just 0.1s today.

The New Zealand team of Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster rode magnificently all day, even setting an Olympic record in the process.

However, in the final, they had to bow to a really classy Great Britain combination.

Afterwards the New Zealanders were naturally disappointed with their “so close but so far” effort, but in fact they should be proud of the way they rode.

In the qualifying round they were timed at 42.673s, which is slippery enough. The British, however, sounded alarm bells by clocking an Olympic record of 42.562s. So it was Great Britain 1, New Zealand 0.

Into the first round, New Zealand beat Germany and their time of 42.535s broke Britain’s record only an hour after it was set. Britain beat Venezuela to book a final against New Zealand. At this point it was Great Britain 1, New Zealand 1.

The final was a pulsating race in which the British team’s strength just told in the closing stages. But it was close – Great Britain 42.440s to New Zealand’s 42.542s.

Germany beat Australia for the bronze medal.

Dawkins said later there was nothing more the New Zealanders could do.

“We rode three rides that were pbs, each one faster. We executed the final perfectly but Great Britain were just a fraction better,” he said. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of the boys and our whole team.

“Today our best was a silver medal at the Olympics. I'm proud of that.”

The New Zealand men’s and women’s team pursuit squads advanced through qualifying without any worries.

The women’s team of Lauren Ellis, Racquel Sheath, Rushlee Buchanan and Jaime Nelsen were fifth in 4min 20.061.

The men’s team of Pieter Bulling, Aaron Gate, Dylan Kennett and Regan Gough were fourth fastest qualifiers in 3min 33.977s. They now line up against the flying British team in the first round, but the way the draw works, a loss would not exclude them from the medal hunt.

 

Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Eddie Dawkins Ethan Mitchell Sam Webster Lauren Ellis Racquel Sheath Rushlee Buchanan Jaime Nielsen Aaron Gate Dylan Kennett Regan Gough
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