Vantage New Zealand sprinter Olivia Podmore provided a reminder of her pedigree with victory in the elite women’s 500m time trial on the second night of the Oceania track cycling championships at Invercargill’s SIT Zero Fees Velodrome.
However it was the Australian stars Amy Cure and Sam Welsford who were superb in claiming the major honours in the four-discipline omnium honours. Cure, a three-time world champion, was a class above to take out the women’s omnium while current scratch and team pursuit world champion, Welsford held off a stern challenge from current omnium world champion, kiwi Campbell Stewart in the men’s.
Cantabrian Podmore edged out her team sprint partner Ellesse Andrews for the win in the time trial with Grassroots Trust Waikato BOP Hub rider Shaane Fulton third.
“I was really happy with my first ride this morning. I was really close to the national record but this afternoon I was feeling pretty fatigued, so I did what I could and pulled through with the win, so I’m really happy,” Podmore said.
“We’ve come through a pretty tough strength phase and we are coming towards the end of it now. We are training through this competition, but we’ve definitely come here with some speed, so I’m looking forward to the next couple of days’ racing.”
Podmore said she was excited about her combination with Andrews after they finished second to the world champion Australian pairing of Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton on the opening night of the championship.
Neither of New Zealand’s two highest ranked sprinters, Natasha Hansen and Emma Cumming, are riding this week.
“For me, really, it was a team sprint focus so I was really happy yesterday to put down a good performance with my teammate Ellesse Andrews. We haven’t been riding together for that long but it was super exciting to put down a good time for us.”
Three-time world champion Cure was all class on the way to winning the elite women’s omnium. The Australian won the scratch race, tempo and elimination rides before comfortably accounting for the field in the points race.
“I wasn’t sure how I was going to go here. I’ve been a bit up and down lately. I set myself up early by getting some wins and I had a good buffer going into that points race. I don’t mind a points race, it’s always tough but I just went in there and just treated it like any other points race.”
Welsford also dominated the elite men’s omnium, winning the first three events and then taking out the final sprint in the points race ahead of Stewart to secure victory.
The Australian was made to work hard by a New Zealand trio of Stewart, Regan Gough and Corbin Strong, with only nine points separating the top three riders heading into the final 10 laps of the points race.
“I enjoy racing against the New Zealanders. It is always good and fair racing between us and it really enjoyable. I was happy with my form so early in the season,” said Welsford.
New Zealand’s Jenna Borthwick won the junior women’s 2000m individual pursuit, with compatriot Jack Carswell, under-17 world record holder, claiming the junior men’s 3000m individual pursuit title.
Carswell and double junior world champion, Laurence Pithie both went under the championship record in the final, with Carswell besting the previous mark by nearly 3sec.
Cambridge’s Reuben Webster led home a New Zealand trifecta of Subway Performance Hub riders in the junior men’s 1000m time trial, with a winning time of 1min 04.694sec.
The Oceania championships, which has attracted 180 riders from Australia and New Zealand, continue tomorrow including the elite women’s keirin, 3000m individual pursuit and points race; the elite men’s 4000m individual pursuit, 1000m time trial and points race. The junior women will compete in the omnium and keirin and junior men will ride the omnium, sprint, omnium, and points race.