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Dawkins beaten at NZ track cycling champs

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/02/2017

Auckland sprinter Zac Williams upset the apple cart by toppling Olympic team-mate Eddie Dawkins in the 1000m time trial on the opening night of the national track cycling championships in Invercargill.

Williams, who was an unused team sprint reserve at the Rio Games, says he set himself the daunting goal of beating Southlander Dawkins on his home track.

"It's a pretty cool feeling, especially against someone like Dawk, who medalled at junior worlds and for a while was the best rider in this event in the country," he said.

Palmerston North rider Jordan Castle was third.

Following on from her win in the time trial at the national road championships, Jaime Nielsen claimed the women's 3000m individual pursuit.

Nielsen headed home international teammate Rushlee Buchanan, with Southland's Kirstie James pipping Lauren Ellis for third to prevent a clean sweep of Rio Olympians.

Nielsen was the fastest qualifier, breaking the New Zealand championship record set by two-time world champion Alison Shanks in 2010.

Dylan Kennett continued his push for selection for the world championships with victory in the men's 4000m individual pursuit.

Kennett held off Nick Kergozou in the gold medal ride, with Hugo Jones taking bronze from Tom Sexton.

After several years frustrated by niggling injuries, Kennett believes he is reaching a level of physical maturity which bodes well for the future.

"Guys like Jesse Sergent and Wes Gough have set the benchmark over the years, and then (Australians) Jack Bobridge and Michael Hepburn," he said.

"It's my goal to be as quick as them, if not quicker so I've set the bar pretty high."

Rio Olympian Natasha Hansen, who has just completed her final exams to qualify as an air traffic controller, edged out Southland teammate Emma Cumming to claim the women's 500m time trial title.

London Olympic BMX silver medallist Sarah Walker continued an impressive apprenticeship on the track with fifth place.

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