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NZ team pursuiters win silver and bronze

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/04/2017

New Zealand has added silver and bronze to an opening day team sprint gold at the track cycling world championships in Hong Kong.

The Kiwi quartet of Nick Kergozou, Dylan Kennett, Piet Bulling and Regan Gough won silver in the men's team pursuit final, beaten by perennial rivals Australia.

Michaela Drummond, Racquel Sheath, Rushlee Buchanan and Jaime Nielsen produced two outstanding rides to claim bronze in the women's event after only qualifying sixth fastest.

In the men's 4000m race, the Australians eked out a half-second lead at the 1000m mark, extending to a full second at halfway.

The Kiwis dug deep with a 56-second third quarter to take the lead, only for the Australians to battle back and steal the win in three minutes, 51.503 seconds ahead of New Zealand's 3min 53.979sec.

Bulling said the result was particularly satisfying after the disappointment of finishing fourth at last year's Rio Olympics.

"We have come in with a re-think and re-structure after Rio," he said.

"We've come in with a different plan that we've never done before. We've nailed every session, we've all bought in to the plan, everyone has been happy and positive.

"The outcome was what we got tonight, which is great."

The women, under the direction of coach Brendon Cameron, had to work hard after only qualifying sixth.

They produced an outstanding first-up ride in 4min 20.171sec, delivering a well-structured and even race to earn a bronze medal ride-off against Italy, who clocked 4:19.95 in losing their semifinal against the US.

New Zealand, who brought in the fresh legs of newcomer Kirstie James for the second ride, trailed by 1.3sec at the 3000m mark but dug in for an emphatic 4:21.778 win.

It was New Zealand's first world championship medal in the event since the move to four-woman teams over 4000m, and their first since the bronze medal at Apeldoorn in 2011.

Nielsen, who was in the trio that won bronze in 2009 and 2011, was thrilled.

"We just left everything out there. We knew we had to give it in the last part of the ride and we knew there could be gaps forming, and we had to make sure we were in it to take the lead back."

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