Beijing Olympic medallists Marc Ryan and Jesse Sergent won the 40km Lion Foundation New Zealand Madison Championships in Wanganui on Thursday. The pair was pushed all the way by fellow Olympic cyclists Sam Bewley and Wes Gough, with the two teams putting two laps on the nine-strong field in the 40km race at Cooks Gardens.
Bewley flatted on just the fourth lap, but some slick work enabled him to rejoin the pack. He and Gough then went immediately on the attack with Sergent and Ryan going with them. The Olympians put a lap on the field after 55 of the 160 lap race, and continued to charge, putting a second lap on their opponents on lap 95.
A strong chasing bunch of five teams then formed to fight out for the third place although it did not stop Ryan and Sergent from another attack. Bewley and Gough managed to respond to each surge from their fellow BikeNZ team pursuiters. However Ryan and Sergent managed to open a half lap advantage with 40 laps remaining until the field came back together.
Ryan and Sergent pulled back a final attack from under-23 riders Eliot Crowther and Patrick Bevin and proved too strong in the final sprint to cross the line in front ahead of Bewley and Gough. Shane Archbold and Tom Scully got up for third place ahead of Archbold and Scully.
The New Zealand Omnium title will be decided on the second night of racing on Friday in Wanganui.
(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)