NZ men's pursuit team lose bronze after disastrous crash

The New Zealand men's team pursuit have suffered a disaster in their bronze medal race against Australia, as an error from experienced rider Aaron Gate caused him to crash on the way to the Kiwis losing.

The crash occurred with New Zealand in the lead with less than half the race to go.

Gate, who was part of the bronze medal-winning pursuit team from 2012, got too close to the rider in front of him, clipping their back wheel and causing Gate to lose control and slam to the ground.

New Zealand still had a chance with three riders left, but poor communication between the remaining trio saw them become isolated from each other and lose speed.

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Meanwhile, Australia kept up the pace and within moments they were over three seconds ahead, essentially ending any hopes for the New Zealanders.

At the end, the Australians won by lapping New Zealand's third rider with over 350m to go, only adding to the embarrassment.

Aaron Gate reacts after crashing during the men's team pursuit bronze medal race against Australia. Source: Associated Press

It had been neck-and-neck prior to the crash. Australia had taken an early lead but New Zealand managed to snatch it from their rivals at the 1000m mark.

They looked to have the race under control as their lead grew to 0.375 seconds mere moments before Gate hit the floor. But following that horror moment, there was only ever going to be one winner.

The Kiwis had been unlucky not to be riding for gold, having just been edged at the line in the semifinals by Italy, who broke the world record.