Commonwealth Games: New Zealand set for first medal at the velodrome

  • 05/04/2018
team pursuit
NZ women's team pursuit. Photo credit: Photosport

New Zealand will win its first medals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Thursday night, but must wait to see what colour they are.

At the cycling velodrome, the Kiwi women have qualified second fastest in both team pursuit and team sprint, and will now face hosts Australia for the gold medals.

The NZ men's sprint team have also booked a place in their final, setting a Games record to finish as fastest qualifiers.

Even if they all lose, they collect silvers.

Wales set the early pace in women's pursuit qualifying, clocking 4m 24.825s for a new Games record, but Australia easily eclipsed that with 4m 17.218s.

2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games: Cycling

New Zealand were next, with Bryony Botha, Rushlee Buchanan, Kirstie James and Racquel Sheath recording 4m 22.331s, but they probably expected England to ride faster and push them back into a bronze-medal rideoff tonight.

The English were surprisingly off the pace, finishing more then two seconds slower than the Kiwis, and were pushed back into fourth by Canada in the last qualifying ride.

The Canadians started strongly and looked likely to edge New Zealand out of the gold-medal contest, but lost one of their riders with six laps of the track still to complete and could not hold their form to the end.

So, New Zealand take on Australia for gold at 9.37pm (NZ time), with Canada and England riding for bronze.

The women's sprint team replicated that effort, qualifying second fastest to book a meeting with Australia in the final at 10:55pm.

Natasha Hansen and Emma Cumming overcame a false start to record 33.321s, which would have been a Games record, if the Aussies hadn't ridden faster just moments earlier.

Although they were almost a second slower than their hosts, the Kiwis edged England and Canada to guarantee a silver medal at worst.

The men's sprinters - three times world champions - clocked 42.822s to dominate their competition. Australia needed a reride, after striking technical difficulties in their initial ride, but could not make the final.

New Zealand will face England at 11:02pm.

But the men's pursuit team have lost a chance to ride off for a bronze medal, after finishing third fastest in qualifying.

Regan Gough, Nick Kergozou, Campbell Stewart and Tom Sexton clocked 3m 56.294s over 4000m to trail Australia and England, but finish almost four seconds faster than Canada.

They were later disqualified, allowing Wales into the bronze-medal contest.