One day after her exciting silver medal performance in the keirin, young New Zealand cycling discovery Ellesse Andrews was back in the velodrome showing her class again today, this time in the women’s sprint.
In the qualifying ride, Andrews was timed at 10.563s and actually held the Olympic record for about 25 minutes. Her team-mate, Kirstie James, was timed at 11.1116s. With the first 24 to progress to the first round, Andrews ended up getting through in 11th spot, but James was 27th and missed out.
In her first round contest, the 21-year-old New Zealander rode a smart, strong race to outmanoeuvre capable Australian Kaarle McCullogh and move into the round of 16.
Taking on experienced Ukrainian Olena Starikova, Andrews was pipped on the finish line after a good tactical battle.
The defeat meant Andrews had to go the repechage route. Having her fourth ride of the evening, she beat highly rated Shanju Bao of China with a perfectly timed sprint to move into tomorrow’s last eight round.
Andrews said later she was excited, and somewhat surprised, with how her Olympics had gone.
“Anything can happen in a competition like this,” she said. “I just try to put everything out there on the track and try to put myself in a position to have a chance.”
She said she was “stoked” to get the New Zealand record (and briefly the Olympic record) for the sprint.
And tomorrow? “ I just want to keep going and giving every race 100 percent.”
In the women’s madison, New Zealanders Rushlee Buchanan and Jessie Hodges struggled to make an impression and eventually finished 11th of the 15 starters.
The women’s madison was making its Olympic debut. The race is named after Madison Square Garden in New York, where distance cycle races were held frequently in the early years of the 20th century. The race is ridden over 30,000m – 120 laps – with a sprint for points every 10th lap.
The New Zealanders could not pick up any points in the sprints, which were utterly dominated by Britain (Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny), who won with 78 points. Denmark were second with 25 and Russian Olympic Committee third with 26.
There were three serious crashes during the fast-paced, frenetic race. Happily the New Zealanders were not involved in any.Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games