Almanac Cycling: Men’s Team Pursuit respond in NZ

Australian men's Team Pursuit

Jack Bobridge leads the Men’s Team Pursuit to fastest qualifying time.

At the recent team meeting for the 2016 Rio Olympics, coach of the Men’s Team Pursuit squad Tim Decker laid out to his cyclists what the key issues and challenges are in their quest for a Gold medal.

Central to this were two key elements, a fast start and a quick qualifying time.

Failure to qualify within the top four fastest rides makes the task of riding for gold impossible. It is then essential to get off to a quick start, maintain speed and power home in the final 2000 metres and hope the time posted is in the top four.

Following the team meeting in early November, Cycling Australia conducted an intensive training camp for the second round of the World Cup to be held in New Zealand. The camp was the first opportunity for the squad to respond to Coach Decker’s challenge.

Would the squad react with the desired intensity that he demanded, would they start and qualify strongly and would Michael Hepburn slot seamlessly back into the pursuiting groove after being on the road for so long?

UCI Track World Cup, Cambridge New Zealand 4 -6 December 2015.

Day One; qualifying rounds and the Australian quartet of Glenn O’Shea, Alex Edmondson, Michael Hepburn and Jack Bobridge ride the fastest first lap and the fastest first 1000 metres. They will go on to ride the fastest qualifying round in 3.56.403, beating the next best qualifying time of current World Champions New Zealand by an impressive 2.3 seconds.

Day Two; first round and Australia will meet Switzerland and New Zealand will ride against Denmark, the two winners going straight into the gold medal ride.

The Australian quartet, changed with Glenn O’Shea making room for Mitchell Mulhern, start strongly with the fastest first lap and again the first 1000 metres, they will go on to win the race in 3.55.363 beating the Swiss by an impressive 7.3 seconds.

New Zealand win their race against Denmark in 3.57.112 and will meet Australia in the Gold medal ride later that evening.

Trans Tasman rivalry, 2015 World Champions against 2013 and 2014 World Champions, Australia versus New Zealand in their back yard, this is the race they wanted.

Final: The Australian team again has made another change, this time Mitchell Mulhern makes way for the powerful Luke Davison, joining the consistent trio of Bobridge, Edmondson and Hepburn.

The Kiwis make a strong start, riding the fastest first two laps but the Aussies are only 0.3 down and proceed to pour on the power in the next 6 laps to be the fastest at the first 1000 metres mark. They will continue to power through the remaining 3000 metres with the fastest lap times extending their margin to win by 4.6 seconds and setting a new Australian Record in 3.53.010.

“New Zealand has the world champion bands on and they’re in their home town. Of course it was going to be a big ask, but we had to back ourselves and know that we’ve done the training,” said Edmondson.

“We wanted to go fast. In round one we went 3:55 with catching Switzerland, so we knew we wanted to go fast, but to ride 3:53.00 is an Australian record for us. We’re pretty rapt that we’ve come away with a very fast time and the gold medal. I don’t think we could do much better than that so it is just making sure that we can do that for the big dance in Rio.”

For Coach Decker, the challenges he laid out for the squad in the training camp were received with an immediate response.

Execution in race conditions would always be an unknown, “The qualifying ride was impressive and that gave them confidence for the rest” commented Coach Decker.

Belief plays a significant role in achieving your ambitions.

About David Parker

A keen observer of all things sport and a Swans tragic, David likes to dabble in sporting documentaries including the Max Bailey doco for Fox Footy. David is currently filming a documentary on the Australian Cycling Men's Team Pursuit squad as they prepare for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Comments

  1. David Conallin says

    Good report look forward to the doco

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