NZ sprint cyclists in record-breaking form
Simon van Velthooven, centre, wins the Keirin race (photosport)
A host of broken records at the national track cycling championships in Invercargill has created substantial interest in the squad naming for the world championships in Belarus.
The New Zealand riders to compete at Minsk from February 20-24 will be unveiled on Tuesday and several pushed their claims at the Southland Velodrome, where seven national records fell over four days of racing.
All fell to men's sprinters, who should dominate the squad.
The nationals ended on an appropriate note on Sunday when the Auckland combination of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and ring-in Simon van Velthooven clocked a record 44.445 seconds to win the men's team sprint final against hosts Southland, comprising Matt Archibald, Eddie Dawkins and Tom Beadle.
Mitchell believes the results will translate into a strong campaign in Minsk.
The 21-year-old enjoyed a superb week and attributed hard work from all the national riders in the wake of their Olympic campaign for the fast times.
He was part of the New Zealand men's sprint team who won gold at last month's World Cup event in Mexico.
"A lot of teams go through the Olympic depression where they struggle for form but we have stepped it up to another level," he said.
"Whoever goes to the world championships in the sprint group will be going there with the intention to win."
The other records this week went to Otago's Katie Schofield in the 250m time trial, van Velthooven in the 1000m time trial, Archibald and then Webster in the sprint qualifying.
Two more fell on Sunday, with Olympian Natasha Hansen beating her own record in the 200m sprint time trial and then teaming with Southland compatriot Stephanie McKenzie to break the record in the team sprint.
Auckland Olympian Aaron Gate was the standout performer in endurance racing, teaming with Myron Simpson to win the men's Madison over 30km to go with his victories in the individual pursuit, scratch race and points race.