Breakthrough gold medal for NZ cyclists at world championships

12/08/2009 9:18:43 a.m.

12 August  2009

Gold Medal winning team of Cameron Karwowski (Marlborough), Sam Webster (Auckland) and Ethan Mitchell (Auckland).

The New Zealand sprint team has won gold on the opening night of finals at the UCI Junior World Track Cycling championships in Moscow overnight.

The trio of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster (both Auckland) and Cameron Karwowski (Marlborough) took out the gold medal ride-off against Germany in 1min 00.236s after they topped the qualifiers earlier in the day.

It is the first time that any New Zealand cyclist has won a medal of any colour in the individual or team sprint at any world event including senior and junior world championships or Olympics.

“It is an outstanding performance,” said Mark Elliott, high performance director for BikeNZ. “Sam and Ethan have been developing well and produced some promising results at the junior worlds last year and again at the Youth Olympics in Sydney earlier this year.

“But their development along with Cameron Karwowski has been exceptional this year. The key has been the outstanding work from the BikeNZ sprint coach Justin Grace whose focus and attention to detail has really rubbed off on these guys.

“He has been New Zealand’s pre-eminent sprinter in recent years and now is doing a superb job as a coach.

“Sprinting has been the domain of the Europeans in the main over many years , so to go to the heart of European cycling in Russia and win a gold medal in the team sprint from New Zealand is a very significant result.”

It is only the fifth gold medal that New Zealand has won at the junior world track championships following Alan Miller in the kilo time trial at Wanganui in 1983, Sarah Ulmer in the individual pursuit and points race at Quito in 1994 and the team pursuit in 2005 in Austria.

Finals results, team sprint: New Zealand 1:00.236, 1; Germany 1:00.955, 2; Poland 1:00.868, 3.