Commonwealth Games: Kiwi sprint cyclists hurting from recent upset

Cyclist Ethan Mitchell is the first to admit the sprint team’s showing of late hasn't been good enough.

But he says an honest debrief of their disappointing world champs campaign has brought them closer together.

After winning three world titles in four years, the Kiwi trio of Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins were relegated to just sixth at their most recent outing in the Netherlands last month.  

"We want to be a great team on and off the bike," reflects Mitchell. "You need to fail to learn and move forward.

"For us, we really came together after that."

And they'll get an early chance for redemption at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games velodrome.

The sprint team will race on the first afternoon of competition, confident of righting recent wrongs.

"We know the performance we can lay out there," says Mitchell. "We know if we execute the way we can, we're in form to ride a personal best time, so it's hugely important for us."

And it's just as important for Cycling NZ high performance manager Martin Barras.

He admits they were complacent at the world champs, but doubts they'll make the same mistake twice.

"The world champs were a wake-up call," he says. "I think you can see that in terms of the things we're trying to put in place here, so you can expect an improvement.

But it’s a different feeling for Rushlee Buchanan.

A surprise package at the world champs, she claimed bronze in the omnium - the cycling equivalent of track and field's decathlon - so a podium finish here is now the standard.

"It's definitely a confidence boost," says Buchanan. "I probably will have a bit of a target on my back, but it's a different kettle of fish here at the Comm Games."

Her teammates are determined to share similar success when they start racing on Thursday.