2018 #OceaniaTrack Championships: Sprint Preview

2017 saw New Zealand sweep the elite men’s sprint events while Australia evened the score winning all four women’s races. With the 2018 Commonwealth Games just months away both nations will be looking impress. New Zealand’s world champion team sprinters Edward Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster headline what will be exciting competition on their home track. While fresh from two World Cup gold medals earlier this month Matthew Glaetzer leads the Australian charge.

In the women’s events dual world championship silver medallist Stephanie Morton (Australia) will be a name to watch as will three-time world champion and defending champion in the sprint Kaarle McCulloch (Australia). New Zealand’s Rio Olympians Olivia Podmore and Natasha Hansen will be aiming to impress on a home track.

2017 Champions
Men: Sam Webster (New Zealand)
Women: Kaarle McCulloch (Australia)

Defending champion Sam Webster and four-time champion Matthew Glaetzer have won the last six titles between them and both will be looking to add another gold to their name. Glaetzer comes in with flying form having won sprint gold and bronze at the opening two World Cups. Other names to watch include Edward Dawkins (New Zealand) who claimed bronze at the World Cup in Poland, Patrick Constable (Australia) and rising stars Jackson Ogle (New Zealand) and Conor Rowley (Australia).

Kaarle McCulloch returns chasing back to back gold as part of a strong Australian line-up that includes Stephanie Morton who picked up silver in the opening world cup along with Caitlin Ward and Holly Takos. New Zealand’s riding stars Olivia Podmore and Emma Cumming will be joined multiple Oceania medallist Natasha Hansen.

2017 Champions
Men: Edward Dawkins (New Zealand)
Women: Holly Takos (Australia)

Holly Takos claimed a breakthrough victory last year and returns looking to defend her title with the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the agenda. Takos will not have it all her own way with former winners and teammates Stephanie Morton and Kaarle McCulloch hoping to reclaim the title.

After four Australian champions in a row Edwards Dawkins reclaimed keirin honours for New Zealand a year ago. A medallist in the sprint at the recent Poland World Cup, Dawkins will hope to carry that to gold on his home track. New Zealand teammates Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell and former champions from Australia Matthew Glaetzer and Jacob Schmid and 2016 make for a strong field.

Time Trial
2017 Champions
Men: Zac Williams (New Zealand)
Women: Kaarle McCulloch (Australia)

With Matthew Glaetzer having set the sea level record in Manchester over the weekend expect to see all eyes on the time trial in Cambridge. Zac Williams is chasing a third and New Zealand’s sixth title in a row. Former Junior World Championship medallist Cameron Scott and National Champion Nicholas Yallouris will hope to reclaim the crown for Australia.

In the women’s Kaarle McCulloch will be chasing back to back titles and National Champions Natasha Hansen (New Zealand) and Breanna Hargrave (Australia) and former Junior World Championship medallist Emma Cumming (New Zealand) add further excitement to the field.

Team Sprint
2017 Champions
Men: Edward Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster (New Zealand)
Women: Rikki Belder, Courtney Field and Holly Takos (Australia)

The team sprints will be an event to watch as New Zealand light up the boards in their rainbow jerseys. The Trio of Dawkins, Mitchell and Webster have dominated the event in recent years and will be aiming to add another Oceania jersey to their fast growing collection.

Australia has traditionally been strong in the women’s race and World Championship silver medallists Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton will be looking for another title. Caitlin Ward and defending champion Holly Takos add further depth in the Australian line up. The chase for medals from New Zealand will be spearheaded by Rio Olympian’s Natasha Hansen and Olivia Podmore.