America's Cup: Hamish Bond joins Team New Zealand

Hamish Bond with his plethora of medals. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Hamish Bond’s incredible sporting career has taken one more twist.

The Kiwi Olympic legend has joined Team New Zealand as a cyclor for their defence of the America’s Cup in Barcelona in 2024.

Bond, a three-time Olympic gold medallist in rowing and also a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist in cycling, is joined by Dougal Allan, Louis Crosby and Cameron Webster as new recruits for the Cup defence.

Simon van Velthooven, Louis Sinclair, Marcus Hansen and Marius van der Pol return from the 2021 Cup-winning team while sailor Sam Meech is also on board.

After his three Olympic triumphs - two with Eric Murray in the pair and one in the eight - as well as making the podium at the Commonwealth Games as a cyclist in the time trial, Bond is ready for another elite adventure.

“I’m really excited to join,” said the 36-year-old. “It’s something that I was aware of on the radar when I officially retired from rowing but to have the stars align and be asked to trial for the team and be selected is something that I’m really excited about.

“I’ve got memories of the America’s Cup going all the way back to Sir Peter Blake and the red socks. I remember being on the side of the road during my cycling stint in the UK in a van, watching Pete and the team in Bermuda win the Cup back, so to think that’s going to be part of my story now is really exciting.”

Bond has been keeping himself in good shape for the possibility he could join the team.

“I was notified that the trials were going to be taking place at the end of last year. I’d been keeping myself fit, I was aware that the opportunity was there but it wasn’t something I was seriously thinking about until probably later on last year.

“When I was asked if I’d like to put my hand forward it was a bit of a no-brainer. I kicked up my training to get myself in the best shape that I could. It’s a really brutal battery of testing that we were put through – from all-out max sprint efforts to sustained power.

“It was a big challenge and I’m looking forward to getting in amongst the rest of the cyclors and really building off that team camaraderie and pushing each other to produce the most power when it’s needed come Cup day.”

Bond is not the only impressive athlete added to the squad, with Allan being a two-time winner of the Coast to Coast, with the international multi-sport champion also being the course record holder of Challenge Wanaka.

Crosby is a former professional cyclist while Webster was part of the Rowing New Zealand squad between 2016 and 2020.

Team New Zealand trainer Kim Simperingham said the tests to find the new cyclors were gruelling.

“We had a really interesting week of cyclor testing for our existing sailing team as well as a list of potential new candidates, all of whom took their bodies to their absolute limits for the tests.

“The two main physical qualities we were looking for are athletes that can sustain a really high power output for the length of a race, up to about half an hour, and athletes that can also achieve really high peaks in power, that will be used for the manoeuvres during races.”

Team New Zealand’s Blair Tuke, who has been intricately involved in the selection process, is encouraged by the calibre of the team that has been established around him ahead of the Cup in October 2024.

“We have a really potent mix of America’s Cup and AC75 experience, fresh hungry talent and raw power which I am sure will set us up strongly by the time we are on the start line for the America’s Cup match.

“To see what these guys are prepared to put themselves through in testing to qualify for the team has been really impressive and I have no doubt they will apply that same commitment to the whole team in the gym, in the shed and on the water throughout the campaign.”