Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Kiwi track cycling begins new era after years of dominant men's sprint

After years of a dominant men's sprint programme, the tide is turning at Cycling New Zealand. 

Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins and Ethan Mitchell were the faces of the track programme, winning multiple world championship, Olympic and Commonwealth Games medals. 

But before this weekend in London, all eyes are instead on two other teams, and with it a determination to right the wrongs of Tokyo. 

Ellesse Andrews at the Tokyo Olympics.
Ellesse Andrews at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

Mullet and all, 31-year-old Gate is the old head in the men's endurance team. 

"I was rolling into the track and was like 'wow, it's been 10 years'," he told Newshub. 

"One of my teammates was like 'I was 13 then' so [that] made me feel a bit old."

A decade on from claiming Olympic bronze, Gate is back in London. This time, he's part of a team pursuit, which is one of New Zealand's leading contenders at the velodrome.

The individuals themselves are also among the medal hopes. 

"It's probably more insults than compliments that get thrown around the dinner table," he added. "But that's just part of the fun." 

Gate knows dinner cutlery well - he's had to go under the knife three times since making a meal of his shoulder at last year's Olympics

"This is a redemption event for me, especially. To go out, do what we should've done in Tokyo, and really dial it in." 

And while pressure is usually in Pringles cans, it will be in just the pringle this week.

Ellesse Andrews grew up idolising the, at times, world conquering men's sprint trio. 

Now, as an Olympic medallist, she's replaced them in the spotlight, with all bar Webster having exited stage left.

"I think we can do some really special things as a team," Andrews said. "It's going to be really cool to line up on race day and see what we can do." 

New Zealand flags could soon join mullets flowing around cyclists necks. 

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