Rain delays Kiwi medal prospects

Unseasonal rain has dampened the progress of New Zealand rider Myron Simpson on the opening day of the UCI Juniors World Championship in Mexico on Saturday. The Manukau rider is in third place after five of six events in the gruelling Omnium before rain brought a premature end to the night's programme at Aguascalientes.

Simpson will return to the track tomorrow to compete in the final one kilo time trial to complete the Omnium, chasing New Zealand's first medal at the world championships. The 17 year old finished sixth in the 200m time trial, third in the 5km scratch race and a superb second in the individual pursuit. He was 10th in the 15km points race to be in third place overall with one event remaining. It was an outstanding performance in tough conditions with riders coping with bthe effects of altitude with the track at 1800m as well as humidity.

"It's the humidity that is the real factor here," manager William Rastrick said. "We have prepared for the altitude but the difference here is that there is also high humidity, up to 40 and event 50 per cent. It means the riders have to really use their heads here. They have to conserve some energy or they can run out of fuel in the final part of their racing."

Earlier in the night New Zealanders Alex Cull and Shane Archbold finished sixth and ninth respectively in the qualifying heats of the individual pursuit. Cull (Auckland) rode a strong 3min 25,24sec to miss out on a place in the medal round by only 1.7s. Archbold (Timaru) was a further two seconds behind, tying up over the final kilometre after going to the world championships with high hopes following his silver medal as part of the team pursuit last year.

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