NZ men's sprint team crash out of track cycling world champs




New Zealand's remarkable men's sprint team record at the track cycling world championships is over after they finished sixth in the Netherlands.

Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Edward Dawkins of New Zealand

Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Edward Dawkins of New Zealand

Source: Getty

Perennial powerhouse trio Sam Webster, Ethan Mitchell and Eddie Dawkins were shut out of the medals in Apeldoorn, producing two rides which were below their best.

Seeking a third successive gold medal and their fourth in five years, they couldn't match the speed of five European rivals.

The result ends seven years of dominance for the Rio Olympic silver medallists, who had stood on the podium seven straight times at world championships level, starting at Melbourne in 2012.

They were fifth fastest in the qualifying round and then sixth in the first round, from which only the top four advanced.

Their second time of 44.146 seconds was slower than their first, their cause not helped by Dawkins losing touch through the middle stages.

It left them 0.712sec outside a berth in the final, which was to be contested between the Netherlands and Great Britain. Russia and France were to race for bronze, with Germany fifth.

The women's sprint team of Natasha Hansen and Emma Cumming finished higher than the men, ranked fifth after missing out on a ride for bronze by 0.158sec.

They were seventh-fastest in the heats but improved in the first round, where China narrowly pipped them for fourth.

Germany and the Netherlands were to contest gold.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's hopes of another double medal haul in the team pursuit are over.

Eager to at least match their silver-bronze outcome at Hong Kong last year, the Kiwi men were shut out of the medals while the women have scraped through to the semi-finals.

The men, who were runners-up a year ago, could only manage fifth despite fielding a near-identical lineup.

Regan Gough, Dylan Kennett and Nick Kergozou were joined by Campbell Stewart, who replaced Pieter Bulling.

However, they were pipped by 0.175sec by Germany for the last spot in the final four.

Their time of 3 minutes 57.622 seconds was less than 2sec behind top qualifiers Great Britain, with Italy, Denmark and Germany booking the other slots in a closely-fought qualifying session.

The Kiwi women also featured one change from the group who snared bronze last year, with Bryony Botha replacing Jaime Nielsen, alongside Racquel Sheath, Rushlee Buchanan and Kirstie James.

They clocked 4min 23.530sec to sneak into fourth but were nearly 5sec slower than top qualifiers the United States, who they will meet in the semi-finals.

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