Two NZ silvers at track cycling World Cup

Eddie Dawkins, of New Zealand, stands on the podium after finishing second in the men’s keirin at...
Eddie Dawkins, of New Zealand, stands on the podium after finishing second in the men’s keirin at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Paris yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
New Zealand cyclist Eddie Dawkins has claimed the silver medal in the men’s keirin on the penultimate day of the opening UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Paris.

Dawkins had to go around four riders on the final bend and finish 0.07s behind Japanese star Yuta Wakimoto in the final.

The 29-year-old enjoys the Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines track; he won a silver medal at the world championships there in 2015, and repeated that at the London event in 2016.Dawkins was forced to the back after drawing the outside in the final, so it was a wonderful ride to claim second.

"In the final it was a long sprint with heaps of changes for the lead," Dawkins said.

"There [were] four going around the final corner pushing for the lead and I was the one pushed to the outside and had the furthest distance but came home strongly."

Dawkins said he will play support for teammates Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster who compete in the individual sprint, but is now also looking forward to heading across the Atlantic for the second World Cup event in Canada next weekend.

The New Zealand women’s pursuit team claimed a silver medal as well.

The New Zealanders were pipped by just 0.6sec in the final by perennial rivals Australia.

The new-look women’s team pursuit of Kirstie James, Holly Edmondston, Rushlee Buchanan and Bryony Botha qualified fastest. They disposed of Germany in the first round in 4:20.143, similar to their qualifying effort.

Australia set the marker with a 4:18.441 effort to beat the Italians in the other first round clash to take the favourites tag into the final.

Australia opened the narrowest of margins after the first 1000m but there was just a blink of the eye separating the two at 2000m, with the gap at only 0.7s at 3000m.

While New Zealand had to settle for second in 4:17.560, it was rewarded not only with its first World Cup silver medal but a New Zealand record in the process, bettering the previous time set at the Rio Olympics.

"It is a really good starting point," said the experienced Buchanan.

"We are a fresh team and not tapered. It is the first time this group has ridden together, and while we had a few hiccups in the first two rides, we were calm and collected [in the final]."

The women’s team sprint combination of Emma Cumming and Natasha Hansen achieved the first medal ride at a World Cup in that event.

They qualified fifth-fastest in 33.622, with the pace set by Australia in 32.845. The Kiwi pair upset the host nation in the first round with their 33.325 only 0.2 off the national record, but which qualified them for the bronze medal ride. They managed a solid 33.477, but were edged by Ukraine, while Russia pipped Australia by 0.001 in the final.

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