Cycling: Rene Wolff stamping his mark on NZ track team

The New Zealand track cycling team are setting their standards even higher, heading into their first major competition with new coach Rene Wolff.

After the departure of Anthony Peden, the expectation of a better culture hasn't changed the expectation of more medals.

The elite team of men's sprinters are setting their sights high heading into the world championships in Poland later this month.

Sam Webster, Ethan Mitchell and Eddie Dawkins are making final preparations for their first competition under the guidance of Wolff.

"Getting Rene on board has really lifted us and brought us closer together - not just the three of us, but the whole sprint team," said Dawkins

With next year's Olympic Games in sight, the world champion trio now hold themselves to a higher standard than ever, according to Dawkins.

"We want to be the fastest team that's ever been at Tokyo - not just make it to Tokyo," he said.

Winning medals at the world championships and Olympics are just a mere benchmark - the sprinters have a much bigger goal in mind.

"It's always been the expectation, ever since we became a three, that we would do things the previous cyclists haven't done before," said Dawkins.

Wolff has forged a united front with his team and he had to do it quickly.

Former coach Peden's abrupt departure last May came amid accusations of bullying and an inappropriate relationship with an athlete.

Wolff came in very much his own man, ready to make a mark.

"I'm more looking into personal development," Wolff told Newshub. "Executing their best times for the track in Poland, so that would be good, and can set them up to earn medals."

Webster, Mitchell and Dawkins aren't the only ones hoping to achieve those goals.

The world championships present a timely opportunity for Liv Podmore.

Previously unable to push past Natasha Hansen and Emma Cumming in the sprint pecking order, injuries to both now mean Podmore gets the chance she's been waiting for since 2016.

"I've got a lot bigger and stronger, which is always exciting for a sprinter," Podmore told Newshub.

"I definitely feel I've got the strength behind me to start progressing and challenging the older girls."

The progress started under the Peden regime is now looking to reach new heights in the Wolff era.


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