International Cycling

Antipodeans upset Britain in pursuit

2015-02-20 07:54
Australia's Annette Edmondson celebrates after winning with teammates the Women's Team Pursuit Finals at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships. (AFP)

Cape Town - Australia and New Zealand put themselves in pole position ahead of Rio next year by beating the current Olympic champions Britain in the men's and women's team pursuit at the World Championships.

Australia's women's team smashed the world record by almost three seconds to push Britain into second while New Zealand produced a scorching last km to overhaul the Olympic champions in the men's discipline.

Australia's coach Gary Sutton said their success was the result of hard work.

"Full credit to the girls, they've worked hard. It's been a process over the last year and they've really pulled it together," he said.

"They've been training together for the last four months in Adelaide and they're basically like a family. It's been a credit to them."

However, Sutton admitted he hadn't expected to beat the Brits by so much.

"Our goal coming here was to close the gap. They (Britain) are an incredible team, they have been and still are.

"It all starts again tomorrow for us, they'll have a good night tonight, I'm sure. But a lot happens in sport, things can change pretty quickly. But the girls are in a very good place."

Looking ahead to the Olympics next year, Sutton still believes the team of Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure and Melissa Hoskins can improve.

"We can only control what we do and we know that some of the stuff we're doing is working," he added.

"We've got other ideas but we probably need to try to create some other stuff as well. But we're really pleaed with where we're at at the moment."

New Zealand coach Tim Carswell said his squad will get better before the Olympics as they're only young and have some other riders who will join them to push them harder.

He said the quartet of Pieter Bulling, Dylan Kennett, Alex Frame and Marc Ryan, who beat the Brits by more than half a second, had an average age of only 20.

"For sure we've been building up nicely over the summer and had some riders coming back in that have been missing for a while," he said.

"That's going to be the approach over the next year or so, that we have professional road riders coming back in as well.

"I think we're going to have great depth in our squad going into the Rio Olympics."

For British head coach Iain Dyer it was still a good result despite not taking home a gold medal.

And he said he was not surprised by the Australian women's world record performance.

"Not at all, they put together a very fast ride already a few weeks ago at the Australian nationals, so we were fully aware of what they were capable of coming to this particular venue, which we always knew was going to run pretty fast," he said of the national velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, near Paris.

"We were aware the times were obviously going to lift up a bit as well, so the times were by and large what we anticipated."

He still thinks his squads are on course to retain their Olympic titles from London 2012.

"I think confident would be overstating it, we're confident in delivering our best team in the best shape for Rio, but you can never control what anyone else is going to do," he said.

"Historically it looks like we've made the early gains and obviously everyone's looking to improve and close the gap on us, and you can see that emerging I think.

"Historically we've saved up our best form for the conclusion of an Olympic cycle, so I'm quite excited for that team."

Read more on:    new zealand  |  britain  |  australia  |  cycling


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