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New Zealand grind down their opposition with mammoth effort
By Gerard Knapp
THE New Zealand duo of Greg Henderson and Hayden Roulston put on an impressive display of pure endurance riding to take out the gold in the Men's 40km Madison at Dunc Gray Velodrome this evening.
They attacked with 90 laps remaining of the 160 lap race and then spent the rest of the race on the front right until the end, taking turns and hand-slings to gradually lap the field. They initially drove hard for 4 km before they reached their first target, a second group of riders from countries such as Belgium and France, which they caught with 74 laps to go. But half a lap ahead on the track was another group of quality riders from Australia, Holland, Germany, Great Britain, Colombia and Hungary.
This group initially formed when German and British riders responded to the impressive attack by the New Zealanders and tried to reduce the damage being inflicted by the Kiwis. Then the Australians and Dutch riders worked their way up to the German and British riders, and they were joined by Colombia and lapped riders from Hungary. But still the New Zealand duo of Henderson and Roulston rode smoothly and at a very high tempo, their months of hard road miles paying dividends.
Even with up to six teams working against them, the New Zealand riders achieved the impressive feat of lapping nearly the whole field with 55 laps still to go.
By this stage, they had caught the Australians, but the German duo of Stefan Steinweg and Eric Wesipfenning remained ahead, refusing to be caught. At the sixth intermediate sprint with 40 laps to go, Australia's Darren Young used the momentum of the sprint to try one last effort to re-join the Germans and then work towards eroding the Kiwi's advantage. Together they built up another half-lap lead, and again the Kiwis increased their tempo. With 15 laps to go the Australians dropped back to the main field - that was still sitting behind New Zealand - and decided to battle it out for silver, while the Germans tried one last effort to reduce the one lap lead built up by New Zealand.
But with 12 to go the Kiwis finally reeled in the tiring German duo - an impressive effort which generated warm and spontaneous applause from the mainly Australian crowd.
From that point on, the New Zealanders took their hand slings and maintained such a high tempo that no other countries even tried attacking for the final sprint until there was only one lap to go, and then it was the South African duo of Dean Edwards and Jean-Pierre Van Zyl who used their relative freshness to take their only sprint points of the race.
By maintaining their one-lap lead on the field, New Zealand took the Gold and they also took 13 sprint points during their mammoth 90-lap effort on the front.
The Australians had got off to a good start and despite being lapped, continued to collect sprint points. Renshaw and Young finished in second with 20 points, while the Dutch duo of Slippens and Danny Stam took the bronze with 15 points.
It was an impressive performance and rates well above the win by New Zealand in the madison at the Goodwill Games last year, said New Zealand coach Max Vertongen.
Photography courtesy Tom Balks
40km Madison - Sunday, May 12th, afternoon session
1 New Zealand (Greg Henderson, Haydn Roulston) 13 + 1 lap 2 Australia (Mark Renshaw, Darren Young) 20 3 Netherlands (Robert Slippens, Danny Stam) 15 4 Germany (Stefan Steinweg, Eric Weispfenning) 14 5 France (Nicolas Nagle, Julien Tejada) 7 6 Belgium (Matthew Gilmore, Iljio Keisse) 7 7 South Africa (Dean Edwards, Jean-Pierre Van Zyl) 5 8 Colombia (Leonardo Duque, Victor Herrera) 4 - 1 lap 9 Great Britain (Tony Gibb, Phil West) 0 - 1 lap 10 Hungary (Attila Arvai, Zoltan Bebto) 0 - 2 laps 11 Greece (Elpidoforos Potourdis, Ioannis Tsakouridis) 0 - 3 laps