Cycling: Kiwi sprint, pursuit teams progress at world championships

New Zealand crashed out - some literally - in a horror morning at the world track cycling championships in Poland.

While women's scratch-racer Racquel Sheath was among a 10-rider pile-up near the end of her 10km event, the sprint and pursuit teams were bundled out of their events in disappointing fashion.

After qualifying third fastest in the men's team sprint, the Kiwis were more than half a second slower in the second round, losing to Russian Federation and failing to advance to the medal races.

The Russians eventually took the bronze medal, with Netherlands defending their title against France.

The NZ combo of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins had won the world title three times (2014, 16, 17), but finished only fifth last year, before regrouping for Commonwealth Games gold.

Elsewhere, the Kiwi men's team pursuit team progressed to the second round with the fourth-fastest qualifying time, but bowed out of medal contention, when they were lapped by top qualifiers Australia.

New Zealand were missing front-line riders Jordan Kerby and Regan Gough for the event, while an ill Campbell Stewart also did not ride the second round. 

The women's pursuit team will race Great Britain for a spot in their final on Friday, recording 4m 19.065s in qualifying - more than four seconds slower than the Brits.

"Things started in promising fashion for us with the team pursuit qualifying but we could not follow this through in second rides," said Cycling New Zealand high performance director Martin Barras.

"With some inexperienced riders in the men's pursuit, we probably qualified more strongly that we expected, but we were unable to back up that ride in the evening against a very powerful Australian team.

"Qualifying in the team sprint was good, although still with improvements in execution. However Eddie Dawkins has been suffering from illness over the last few days, and he spent all his energy in that first ride and had a tough time backing up.

"Accordingly, we could not get the same level of execution that we had seen earlier in the season as a result."

In the past 12 months, the NZ track cycling programme has been the subject of an external review, with sprint coach Anthony Peden accused of bullying and eventually leaving to take up a role with the Chinese national team.