Commonwealth Games: New Zealand TP squad disqualified for illegal bike

Barras takes responsibility for missing shot at bronze medal

New Zealand was set to ride in the Commonwealth Games men's team pursuit bronze medal final Thursday night only to be disqualified from the event due to an illegal bike set up. An appeal was unsuccessfully made with Wales taking the place of New Zealand in the final won by Canada. Australia won the gold medal with a new world record time of 3:49.804 minutes.

New Zealand's high-performance Martin Barras took responsibility for the error. The difference in height between the cockpit elbow pads and the top of the grip on the handlebars above the 100-millimetre regulations leading to the disqualification. Of the team pursuit quartet, Regan Gough, Nick Kergozou, Campbell Stewart and Tom Sexton, it was not revealed who the Avanti bike belonged to.

"There are regulations that pertain to the exact set-up the bike can be configured in, and one of our bikes was found to be outside of those configurations by five or six millimetres in the front cockpit [of the bike]," Barras said according to Stuff.nz.

"It's a failing on the team's part, it's a failing on my part as the director of the programme and I can guarantee you that no other bike is going to go onto the track with a set-up that's not conformed to the regulations. It was a particularly painful apology to make to all the riders for what just happened."

The bike reportedly failed a pre-race inspection, was modified by mechanics but then failed the post-race inspection. The set up was the same as the World Championships where New Zealand qualified in fifth place. 

The disqualification was the first of Barras' long career with the French-Canadian explaining the situation as "embarrassing". Barras added that he had expected a stronger response from his riders who missed a chance at riding for bronze as a consequence. 

"It's interesting. 'S*** happens' [was their response], but I don't particularly accept that. They were being a bit too nice to us I think," said Barras. "This is a team failing, there is no other way to describe it."

There was a better result for the women's team pursuit squad with Kirstie James, Rushlee Buchanan, Racquel Sheath and Bryony Botha riding to the silver medal.

The best result of the opening night at the Anna Meares Velodrome for New Zealand came in the men's team sprint with Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins winning gold ahead of England.

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