The day before the opening ceremony was a day of tough decisions and an opportunity to let the special occasion sink in for the Kiwi cyclists.
The team dinner held at Moonee Valley race course was an opportunity for most of the NZ cyclists to mingle in a relaxed environment among athletes of all Games sports, icon New Zealanders and major sponsors and supporters. It was also an opportunity for the specialist road riders to visit the team village for the first time, albeit briefly, as they flew in from Tasmania especially for the dinner before heading back to Launceston first thing Wednesday morning.
The evening began with words of encouragement from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, followed by an inspirational speech from Sir Murray Halberg and Chef de Mission Dave Currie. Currie then announced that the team captain and flag bearer will be Hamish Carter, breaking the recent trend of cyclists - the previous three Commonwealth flag bearers were cyclists. The function ended with a popular surprise appearance by Dave Dobbyn who sang a few songs that reminded all present that the Games proper were now only hours away and that all the hard work was now about to materialse.
However earlier in the day at the Velodrome, among tight security, track coach Terry Gyde had to make some tough decisions. With so much talent on hand Gyde had to decide which athletes were going to ride in which events.
The decision that was causing most interest was who would ride in the teams pursuit team. Gyde went with current form and selected Hayden Godfrey, Marc Ryan, Jason Allen and Tim Gudsell. The Individual Pursuit will be contested by Allen, Hayden Roulston, and Ryan. Richard Bowker, Roulston and former world champ Greg Henderson will ride in the Points race, with Henderson, Godfrey and Gudsell all competing in the Scratch. Pete Latham missed out, but will ride in the road events.
Today, the 15th and day of the opening ceremony, will see the track cyclists practice at the track between 3 and 5.00pm, the road cyclists return to Tasmania and the mountain bikers practice on the bits of the course that are currently accessible. There is certainly a lot of excitement, confidence and energy within the NZ team, with everyone now just wanting to get on with it!
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