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Four sprint cyclists confirmed for Olys

NZN 6/04/2016

The world champion men's team sprint track cycling combination of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins have been confirmed for the Rio Olympics.

Joining them is women's sprinter Natasha Hansen in the first group of New Zealand cyclists to be selected for the Games in August.

Cycling NZ high performance director Mark Elliott is confident the sprint team can maintain the strong form they have shown.

The trio have raced together since 2010 and have been the fastest in the world for the past three years.

"They have a unique relationship as friends but also individuals who gel together to form an outstanding combination under the direction of coach Anthony Peden," Elliott said on Thursday.

Confirmation of their selection meant they could get on with their preparations for Rio.

Mitchell, 25, and Dawkins, 26, competed in London in 2012, when they finished fifth, but it will be the first Olympics for former triple junior world champion Webster.

Elliott said Webster, 24, missed out four years ago because of the limit on numbers.

"Since that time, his dedication and professionalism have been outstanding and he is a real driver for this group," he said.

Hansen, 26, will be attending her second Olympics after making her debut in London and then taking time out from the sport.

Since returning fulltime last year and working with Peden, she has risen up the international rankings and she finished fifth at the world championships in England in March.

With the New Zealand Cycling team qualifying for a full quota of places in every Olympic track discipline, the selectors are considering nominations for a further male rider for individual events and the potential for one female to form a women's team sprint combination.

The latest selections takes the New Zealand Olympic team to 52 with further announcements across the different sports continuing through to July.

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