New Zealand track cyclists continue to golden start at Commonwealth Games

New Zealand track cyclists continue to golden start at Commonwealth Games

Aaron Gate, center, and Tom Sexton, left, shared the podium after finishing first and second in the men's singles pursuit.

Ian Walton/AP

Aaron Gate, center, and Tom Sexton, left, shared the podium after finishing first and second in the men’s singles pursuit.

The New Zealand track cycling team continued their golden start at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, claiming four more medals, three of them gold, on another astonishing day at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark.

New Zealand’s national anthem was played three times in the space of just a few hours as drivers Aaron Gate, Bryony Botha and Ellesse Andrews took the podium after impressive individual triumphs.

New Zealand has been the best performing country on the track so far, winning eight medals, five of them gold, in the first two days of competition.

And there may be more to come with Andrews still to compete in the keirin, the event where she announced herself with a silver medal at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.

New Zealand won six cycling gold medals in Glasgow in 2014.

Gate won his second gold in as many days after reviewing teammate Tom Sexton to win a New Zealand men’s singles chase final by 4.419 seconds.

24 hours after helping secure New Zealand’s first men’s team pursuit gold medal since 1990, Gate and Sexton found themselves in the unusual position of racing against each other after recording the two fastest times in qualifying, with Gate setting a new record of 4 at the Commonwealth Games: 07,129.

Sexton was very strong in the final and led by 1.4 seconds midway through, but failed to maintain a consistent pace and slowed down in the second half of the 4000m race, with Gate scoring the win in 4:07.760 after posting seven laps under. of 15 seconds.

Ellesse Andrews is congratulated by her family after winning the individual sprint final.

Ian Walton/AP

Ellesse Andrews is congratulated by her family after winning the individual sprint final.

Botha was better than the silver he won in the team chase, dominating the women’s singles chase final with a super consistent run.

Botha broke her own Commonwealth Games record she set in qualifying, leading from start to finish to comfortably beat Australian Maeve Plouffe by an impressive 8.666 seconds.

After the first lap, just 0.265 seconds separated his slowest and fastest laps.

The 24-year-old caught up with Plouffe towards the end of the 3,000m race, when she dropped below 3m19s for the first time in her career to record another world-class time of 3m18s456s.

Botha is the fourth New Zealand cyclist to win gold in the women’s singles pursuit after Alison Shanks in 2010, Sarah Ulmer in 2002 and 1998 and Madonna Harris in 1990.

“Honestly, I can’t believe it,” she told Sky Sport. “I wasn’t really sure how my legs would feel. In the warm-up I thought it would be what it would be and when I got there I felt amazing, I just kept going and carried it.

Bryony Botha celebrates on the podium after winning the individual pursuit.

Ian Walton/AP

Bryony Botha celebrates on the podium after winning the individual pursuit.

“I didn’t expect to catch her. Maeve is a strong rider and I thought we would be pretty even. When I looked up and saw her there, I thought I’m going to use the draft and make the most of it.”

Andrews stunned Olympic Games champion Kelsey Mitchell of Canada by winning the women’s sprint, giving the 22-year-old her third medal and second gold after leading New Zealand to team sprint glory.

Andrews showed incredible power to outrun Mitchell and beat the gold medal favorite in the final two races.

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