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NZ team sprint cyclists to race each other

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 31/01/2017

For four days only, New Zealand's world champion track cyclists switch from friends to foe.

Olympic team sprint silver medallists Sam Webster, Ethan Mitchell and Eddie Dawkins will square off as individual sprinters at the national track cycling championships in Invercargill starting on Thursday.

As part of the preparation for their world title defence in Hong Kong in April, the trio will engage in one-on-one competition.

Cycling NZ sprint coach Anthony Peden expects fireworks.

"It always a difficult scenario when you are with your training partners and teammates day-in and day-out and then you have to compete against each other," he said.

"But equally, everyone wants to be a national champion."

Peden expects the heavyweights to also be pushed hard by emerging sprint talent, most notably Zac Williams and Jordan Castle.

He says bagging the scalp of Webster, Mitchell or Dawkins would be a prize scalp for a young rider trying to prove themselves.

However, Peden warns toppling any member of the trio will be difficult given their output of recent weeks.

"They have never trained as consistently this good (although) I am not expecting world record times this week from them.

"The focus is Hong Kong where we want to continue our dominance in the team sprint."

Peden is pleased with the growing depth in women's sprinting.

Natasha Hansen returns from a prolonged post-Olympic break while her Rio teammate Olivia Podmore is impressing in training.

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