It was only a matter of seconds after New Zealand's three man sprint team crossed the line on day one of the Track Worlds that Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins were raising their arms in triumph having defended the title they won last year in Cali. In a matter of minutes, the tables had turned with France celebrating as New Zealand, judged to have committed a technical infringement during the changeover, were relegated to the silver medal despite winning by point three of a second.
"It"s a technical rule that did not affect the result or the time but it is a rule nonetheless and we have to wear it," said Cycling New Zealand head coach Dayle Cheatley.
New Zealand set the fastest time in qualifying with a 42.892s, 0.2s ahead of France. In the final, the trio improved on that time, simultaneously extending its advantage over France by posting a 42.892s, 0.3s faster than the host nation and were quick to rejoice in their feat.
However while they celebrated on the track, the commissaries checked the footage and found that Webster had overlapped Mitchel's rear wheel in the changeover.
"It was pretty grim at the time because we deserved that even more than we ever had," said lead rider Mitchell. "Our bad luck came around this time. It"s a technical thing not a performance thing. It was about a tyre-width or so on the overlap and at 75kph that not a lot of leeway.
"But on the positive side, we had our fastest sea level time, we were the only team under 43 seconds in both rides and we have put nearly half a second on the rest of the world as we look towards Rio."
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