Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Cycling NZ rallies from culture restructure to dominate velodrome

Aaron Gate has been through it all at Cycling NZ - crashes, cleanouts and condemnation.

Now he's part of a programme crushing the Commonwealth.

"It just shows the hard work is working and we just have to keep going from strength to strength," he said. 

The numbers show it - the 13 medals at the Lee Valley VeloPark are the most New Zealand have won at a Games velodrome.

The culture previously described as broken and dysfunctional after the death of sprinter Olivia Podmore last year is now a key cog in their success.

"There is lots of positivity focusing on performance, but having fun at the same time," said Cycling NZ high performance director Amy Taylor. "It's super relaxed in the camp as well."

This is not just any camp - it has youth on its side. Just two of those who medalled at Birmingham are aged over 25.

Eldest statesman Gate won three gold medals, but the success has come at a time when they copped a funding cut and loss of sponsorship.

"That's certainly something I'll be putting to High Performance Sport NZ," said Taylor.

Said endurance team leader Craig Palmer: "If we had more, we'd do more with it."

Cycling NZ believes a funding increase would allow the likes of three-time gold medallist Ellesse Andrews to flourish even more.

Gold isn't cheap.

Ellesse Andrews in action at Birmingham
Ellesse Andrews in action at Birmingham. Photo credit: Photosport

"If anyone would like to sponsor us, that would be great, thank you," said Taylor.

The need is reinforced by Andrews' coach serving up a potentially petrifying prospect for the rest of the world.

"I think there's still a bit there, which is pretty exciting," said lead sprint coach Nick Flyger.

There could be plenty more gold medals on the cards, they just need the wallets to open up first.

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