Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Track cyclist Ellesse Andrews undertaking almighty task

Just weeks after being bed-ridden with COVID-19, track cyclist Ellesse Andrews will undertake an almighty task at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The Olympic keirin silver medallist was already down to ride a full sprint programme, but in order to allow the women's team pursuit to get on the start line, she will also undertake endurance races. 

Andrews. Photo credit: Photosport

Ally Wollaston's fractured wrist has seen Andrews put her own hand up for the team pursuit as well, despite an already stacked sprint schedule.

"I do feel pressure, but it's important to remember, there's a balance," she said.

Cycling NZ High Performance director Amy Taylor revealed it was entirely Andrews' call.

"We didn't want to put that pressure on her, so we didn't ask. But she offered," she said.

Andrews' bold decision comes just weeks after being struck down with COVID-19 at a team training camp in Switzerland.

"A little bit inconvenient timing, a couple of weeks out from racing but I've bounced back well, feeling good on the bike," Andrews said.

Juggling sprint and endurance isn't a new challenge for Andrews, having claimed gold in both at the junior world championships.

While doing it at the Commonwealth Games is another beast, she greets it like an old family pet. Her Fern-first approach is impressing some of her more senior teammates. 

"That's what it takes. We are the Commonwealth Games cycling team," sprint cyclist Sam Webster said.

"If I tried to jump in the team sprint, it would be a laughing matter," endurance cyclist Aaron Gate said.

More than a third of New Zealand's medals on the Gold Coast four years ago came at the velodrome.

There's a very real possibility they could deliver a similar haul over the next few days, with some within the camp suggesting double-digit medals are very much on the cards. 

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