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Kiwi sprinters defend world title

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/04/2017

The New Zealand men's cycling sprint team has won back-to-back world championships after taking out the final in Hong Kong.

The trio of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins prevailed over the Netherlands on Thursday (NZT) in the cut-throat new format, with three rides in two hours at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships.

It is their third world championship in five years, along with two silver medals, and the first time New Zealand has won back-to-back track cycling world titles in the same event.

They narrowly missed out on gold at the Rio Olympics last year.

In the final, Mitchell opened with a 17.2-second first lap, Webster pushed to a half-second buffer and Dawkins brought them home to win by 0.3 seconds.

"As a team we showed a lot of grit in that last ride," Mitchell, who was the fastest individual rider in the competition, said.

"The final was one of the messiest rides we've done but sometimes the hardest fought battles are the most rewarding.

"To come out on top reassures us how tight we are as a squad and proud we are of each other to do it a second year in a row."

New Zealand will be assured of another medal on Friday morning (NZT), after the men's pursuit team of Piet Bulling, Dylan Kennett, Regan Gough and Nick Kergozou qualified for the gold medal ride against Australia following their defeat of Italy in the semi-final.

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