World champs to lead strong NZ cycling team in Paris

Ellesse Andrews atop the podium at last year's UCI Track Champions League in London. Photo: Getty...
Ellesse Andrews atop the podium at last year's UCI Track Champions League in London. Photo: Getty Images
Two world champions headline the 16-strong New Zealand cycling team named for the Paris Olympics.

World keirin champion Ellesse Andrew and world points race champion Aaron Gate are among the 12 track cyclists named.

Gate, the New Zealand Sportsman of the Year, heads to his fourth Olympic Games, leading an impressive men's track endurance quartet alongside World Tour rider Campbell Stewart, Tom Sexton and Keegan Hornblow.

They are currently ranked second in Team Pursuit and first in the two-rider madison while Gate is fourth in the Omnium on UCI Olympic rankings.

"It is unfinished business after Tokyo and the disappointment there," said Gate who crashed as his team raced for the bronze medal in the team pursuit in Tokyo.

"In terms of expectations, I am putting a lot on myself for this one. It is a surreal opportunity to get my fourth Olympics and so it is not one that I am going to take lightly. I will be going there with my best foot forward."

Besides holding the keiren world title, Andrews is also currently second on Olympic rankings and fourth in individual sprint. She joins Rebecca Petch and Shaane Fulton in an improved and developing team sprint combination that is seventh on Olympic rankings.

The women's endurance quartet comprises Bryony Botha, Ally Wollaston, Nicole Shields and Emily Shearman who are the top ranked women's team pursuit, second on Olympic rankings in the two-rider madison and third in the omnium. They recorded a new national record in the team pursuit this year.

The New Zealand men's pursuit team. Photo: Getty Images
The New Zealand men's pursuit team. Photo: Getty Images
Sam Dakin is the sole male sprinter, coming off his best year, where he is ranked seventh on Olympic rankings in the keirin.

The four-strong road team are all young European-based World Tour professionals who have enjoyed an outstanding first half of 2024, comprising Niamh Fisher-Black (Team SD Worx), Kim Cadzow (EF Education), Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ) and Corbin Strong (Israel-Premier Tech).

Fisher-Black, 23, from Nelson, has four professional wins and this year has won stages in the Tour de Suisse and Velenciana and was seventh on GC in the Vuelta Espana.

Cadzow, from Tauranga, has three wins in her short career. The 22-year-old won the national championship time trial in 2024 and placed second in the road race. She also finished an outstanding sixth in the famed Liege-Bastogne-Liege monument and top-10 on GC in the Vuelta Espana.

Pithie, 21 from Christchurch, has turned heads this year on the WorldTour for his Groupama FDJ WorldTour team, with an early season win at the Cadel Evans Ocean Race, two podiums in Paris-Nice, and a stand-out seventh in the famed Paris-Roubaix, the monument race established last century.

Strong, 24 from Invercargill, is a former world champion on the track, who has already enjoyed two professional victories on the road and this year was second in a stage of Tour Downunder and Tour of Finisterre and fourth in the Cadel Evans Ocean race.

"Overall we believe this is amongst our strongest track and road teams and accordingly the depth of talent has meant it has been a challenging job for our selectors," said Cycling New Zealand high performance director Ryan Hollows.

"While we congratulate our selected riders, we also want to acknowledge the world-class talent that we just could not fit into our tight quotas."

The team:

Track, Women, Endurance: Bryony Botha (Auckland), Emily Shearman (Palmerston North), Nicole Shields (Clyde), Ally Wollaston (Cambridge).

Sprint: Ellesse Andrews (Christchurch), Shaane Fulton (Nelson), Rebecca Petch (Te Awamutu).

Male, Endurance: Aaron Gate (Auckland), Keegan Hornblow (Nelson), Tom Sexton (Invercargill), Campbell Stewart (Palmerston North).

Sprint: Sam Dakin (Auckland).

Road, Women: Kim Cadzow (Tauranga), Niamh Fisher-Black (nelson).

Men: Laurence Pithie (Christchurch), Corbin Strong (Invercargill).


Female Track, Sprint: Olivia King.

Endurance: Sami Donnelly, Michaela Drummond.

Road: Ella Wyllie, Henrietta Christie.

Male Track, Endurance: George Jackson, Nic Kergozou.

Road: Finn Fisher-Black, George Bennett.