Cycling: Hamish Bond falls short of World Championship target

Hamish Bond.
Hamish Bond. Photo credit: Photosport

Despite a record-breaking performance at the Elite Track Cycling Nationals in Cambridge, rower turned cyclist Hamish Bond won't be travelling to the World Championships later this month.

Bond surged to gold in the individual pursuit on Thursday evening, beating former world champion Jordan Kerby in the final.

But it was his flying ride in qualifying that caught the eye, after setting a national record and blitzing Dylan Kennett's time by nearly a second.

It continued a remarkable transition for the code-hopping 32-year old - who was a double Olympic rowing champion, and a bronze-medal winner on the bike in the time trial at last year's Commonwealth Games.

While his barnstorming time in Cambridge raised eyebrows, it wasn't enough to change Cycling New Zealand's selection criteria for the World Championships.

Bond's noteworthy performance came outside their selection window for the event, which ended on January 29, 2019.

The selection regulations also state that priority is given to Olympic events and the individual pursuit isn't one of those.

"Hamish has a focus to make the track team for the Tokyo Olympics. This will need to be in the team pursuit which requires a significantly different skillset than for the individual pursuit," High Performance Director Martin Barras said in a statement.

"In the expert opinion of Cycling New Zealand's coaching staff, competing in the individual pursuit at a world championship would not aid his long-term goal."

Barras added that they're "delighted" with the progress of Bond, describing him as "perhaps the only athlete in the country that could consider switching from a sport like rowing to road cycling, and now to track cycling."

Bond told Newshub following his record-breaking performance he was "disappointed" he wasn't in the selection frame for the World Champs, particularly after hitting one of the fastest times in the world.

"I offered to pay my own way and that was declined as well, I guess I was disappointed by that, but I don't make the rules."

While he's been using the individual pursuit to get himself up to speed, he knows the team pursuit is where his future lies.

"Although I've been doing a fair bit of training by myself, ultimately the work I've been doing in terms of trying to get out of the gate faster and developing more power is geared towards targeting the team pursuit.

"I'd be foolish to just be chasing the individual pursuit because it's shown that's not even going to get me to the World Championships, let alone the Olympics, where it's not even an event."

Bond is also realistic about his chances of making the red-hot team pursuit, who were recently boosted by the addition of Kerby, and went oh-so-close to breaking the world record at the World Cup in Cambridge last month.

"Naturally I joined the programme in the middle of the international season so there's been limited opportunities to integrate into the team, and fair enough too, they're on fire.  They did a great performance at the World Cup... it wasn't realistic to try and crack the team for this World Champs."