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NZ secure full Olympic cycling quota

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/04/2016

Eddie Dawkins © Getty Images/Dianne Manson Eddie Dawkins New Zealand is one of only three countries to qualify a full quota of track cyclists for the Rio Olympics later this year.

Cycling's governing body, the UCI, has confirmed that for the first time New Zealand has qualified in all 10 track cycling disciplines.

The only other countries to do the same for Rio are Australia and Germany.

As well as the team sprint, team pursuit and omnium for both men and women, New Zealand has qualified two places for the individual sprint and the keirin, again both for men and women.

Head coach Dayle Cheatley says although the news is satisfying, there's still plenty of hard work to be done before the cycling programme kicks off at Barra Olympic Park on August 11.

"For us, it is the first tick in the box - now the really hard work begins," Cheatley said.

"All the work they have put in to establish this platform will be wasted if we cannot take full advantage from here in."

Cheatley said some exceptional performances at last month's world championships in London had helped cement New Zealand's full Olympic quota.

Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster won gold in the team sprint, with Dawkins also taking silver in the keirin.

The women's team pursuit - Lauren Ellis, Rushlee Buchanan, Jaime Nielsen and Racquel Sheath - finished fourth, and Natasha Hansen took fifth in the individual sprint.

"It's encouragement for our coaches and support staff that they are moving in the right direction, and fantastic reward for the riders throughout our entire squad who have all contributed."

Cheatley said coaching staff would be working hard to ensure riders maximize the next 19 weeks until Rio.

"We want to ensure that the riders make every day, every session, every pedal stroke, every lift and every minute of rest count."

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