England aims for record
The English team for the 4000m team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games is aiming high: to break the British and even world records on the way to equalling or bettering their silver medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
The four-man team of Rob Hayles, Chris Newton, Paul Manning and Stephen Cummings will have to break the British national record to have any chance of winning in Melbourne. "We're aiming to beat the national record, but we might have to break the world record to win," said Newton.
The world record, 3:56.61, was set by Australia at the Athens Olympics in 2004 - and the British team was the runner-up then. The tables were turned at the last world championships when Britain took the gold, but the Australians will have the hometown advantage this time.
"To win a gold here is just as difficult as at the World Championships or Olympics," said Cummings. "Basically it's the same nations - Australia and us - we've been the best two teams on the track for years now.
New Zealand makes tough choices
New Zealand track coach Terry Gyde yesterday decided which riders would start in which disciplines in the velodrome competition at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, which starts Thursday.
The black-clad New Zealand team has been a dark horse in recent World Cup team pursuit contests and might yet cause an upset to English and Australian hopes in Melbourne. The selection of the four-man squad was therefore a subject of intense interest in the New Zealand camp, and Gyde has gone with in-form riders Hayden Godfrey, Marc Ryan, Jason Allen and Tim Gudsell.
Jason Allen, Hayden Roulston, and Marc Ryan will ride the individual pursuit. Richard Bowker, Roulston and former world champion Greg Henderson will ride in the points race, while Henderson, Godfrey and Gudsell will all compete in the scratch. Peter Latham was not selected, but will ride in the road events.