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Kiwi sprint trio geared for world success

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/04/2017

The New Zealand men's sprint team are looking to reclaim the top of the dais when they defend their title at the track cycling world championships in Hong Kong next week.

Sam Webster, Ethan Mitchell and Eddie Dawkins narrowly missed out on gold at the Rio Olympics last August, missing out to Great Britain in a final which was decided by 0.102 seconds.

Dawkins says their are no what-ifs following that result but it has hardened their collective resolve.

"We put our best performances out, and on paper we rode the best we could, and got beaten by the best team on the day," Dawkins said.

"Hopefully that's not the case in Hong Kong."

The failure to fire in Brazil - the men's silver was their only Games medal - proved costly.

High Performance Sport New Zealand cut the overall team funding by $500,000, something which Dawkins says must not impact on their psyche.

"We lost a bit of financial support but I still have the same bike I rode so nothing has really changed for me," Dawkins said.

"Yes we've got a point to prove but the bigger thing is looking towards the Tokyo Olympics and keeping our eyes firmly set on that goal."

Mitchell, Webster and Dawkins have won the world title twice before, and also snared two runners-up finishes.

It's a dominance they're keen to extend although they know to take nothing for granted.

"We have been the fastest qualifier four years in a row so five wouldn't be too bad," Dawkins said.

"The other teams around the world are putting on good performances all the time and so it will be a hard battle."

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