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New Zealand track squad named for Commonwealth Games

By:
Cycling News
Published:
April 17, 2014, 3:10 BST,
Updated:
April 17, 2014, 4:21 BST
New Zealand's Ethan Mitchell (L), Sam Webster (C) and Edward Dawkins (R) sing the New Zealand national anthem following the gold medal victory in the Men's Team Sprint

New Zealand's Ethan Mitchell (L), Sam Webster (C) and Edward Dawkins (R) sing the New Zealand national anthem following the gold medal victory in the Men's Team Sprint

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World Champion team sprint trio to lead team of 14

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced a 14-strong squad for the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to be spearheaded by the sprint trio who won gold at February's Track World Championships.

The number of riders selected may grow depending on further performance expectations prior to the Games which begin on 23 July.

The rainbow jersey trio of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins also won the silver medal in the discipline behind Australia at the Delhi Games in 2010 and will enter the 2014 event with targets on their backs.

The other medallists from the 2014 World Championships – Simon van Velthooven, Tom Scully and Marc Ryan – have also been included in the experienced, but young, team.

Only one rider did not competed at the Cali World Championships earlier this year or the 2012 London Olympics. However, the average age of the 14-riders is less than 24-years-of-age as New Zealand look towards Rio Olympics and beyond with Glasgow a stepping stone to future success.

The newcomer to the team is Taupo's Patrick Bevin, who has been a standout since his return from four years on the road for US-based Bissell Pro Cycling. Bevin, 22-years-of-age, rode impressively at the Oceania Championships in December,earning a place in the Mexican World Cup round where he paired up with Tom Scully to win the Madison.

Scully won silver medal at the world championships in the points race while Bevin further impressed by winning the national points race.

New Zealand won nine medals on the track in the 2010 Delhi Games, their equal highest medal haul in a Commonwealth Games.

"The team is based on the men's sprint and endurance programmes that met with such success in both London and this year's world championships," BikeNZ High Performance Director Mark Elliott said.

"The competition at Glasgow is going to be extremely strong with Great Britain, the strongest nation by far at the last Olympics, splitting down into their component countries, as well as powerhouses like Australia and Canada in particular.

"We will have our first full build-up in the Avantidrome in Cambridge which coupled with some very hard work, we hope will result in a further step up in performance from that at the world championships."

The women’s programme is in a rebuilding phase two years out from Rio and as a result, the emphasis is on giving opportunities to younger riders explained Elliot.

"We are looking to invest in some talented younger riders and want more from some of our more experienced riders. We've only selected two women so far but we have others that we would like to consider for Glasgow subject to some further performances expectations over the next two months.

"The riders in question have been set specific goals which we hope will allow us to make further nominations to the New Zealand Olympic Committee."

Elliott suggested that some endurance riders will also crossover to the road race to support the key professional riders, while the team for the mountain bike cross country is to be named early next month. A long list road team will be named by the end of May.

The track team for the Commonwealth Games (with potential events for consideration) is:
Men, Endurance: Shane Archbold (Timaru), Patrick Bevin (Taupo), Pieter Bulling (Invercargill), Aaron Gate (Auckland), Dylan Kennett (Waimate), Marc Ryan (Timaru), Tom Scully (Invercargill).

Women, endurance: Lauren Ellis (Hinds), Jaime Nielsen (Hamilton).
Men, sprint: Matt Archibald (Invercargill), Eddie Dawkins (Invercargill), Ethan Mitchell (Auckland), Simon van Velthooven (Palmerston North), Sam Webster (Auckland).

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