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Ally Wollaston in action on her way to winning the omnium at the UCI Nations Cup in Cairo.
Young track cyclist Ally Wollaston continues to shine on the world stage, powering New Zealand to fine finish at the UCI Nations Cup in Cairo today on Saturday (NZ time).
The 22-year-old, originally from Auckland, who resides in Cambridge, claimed a stunning come-from-behind win in the four-discipline omnium as the Kiwi team finished with four medals, to go with the six earned in the first Nations Cup in Jakarta last month.
The competitions replace the previous world cup programmes, and are mandatory for nations seeking rankings to qualify for the world championships and ultimately, the Paris Olympics.
Earlier in the event, New Zealand claimed a silver medal in the women’s team pursuit, and bronze in the women’s madison – which both involved Wollaston – while Tom Sexton and George Jackson also took bronze in the men’s madison on the final day.
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Wollaston has emerged as the individual star, with three gold medals in Jakarta being backed up with a further three medals in Cairo.
She started the omnium emphatically, winning the opening scratch race and the tempo, but got squeezed for room to be outed early in the elimination race. She was in fourth place going into the all-important points race, 10 points from the leader.
But she went on an early attack to gain a lap on the field with the 20 bonus points elevating her into the top three. Wollaston then dug deep as France’s Victoire Berteau grabbed the lead when she lapped the field.
Wollaston won two vital sprints, with points awarded every 10 laps, and then was third in the final double points sprint to secure the title, finishing on 139 points, nine ahead of Berteau, with Denmark’s Amalie Dideriksen third ahead of American world champion Jennifer Valente.
Sexton and Jackson rode a clever race for bronze in the 160-lap men’s madison, while both Tokyo Olympic medallist Ellesse Andrews and track newcomer Rebecca Petch qualified from the women’s keirin heats, the former going on to win the ride-off for seventh to 12th and the latter ousted in her first quarterfinal, and Callum Saunders qualified for the men’s sprint, but went out in the first round of match racing.
The Kiwi team’s performances have earned significant ranking points for the world champs, much to the delight of new Cycling New Zealand high performance director Ryan Hollows.
“It has been mission accomplished for the track team,” he said.
“While we await the updated standings, we believe we are in excellent shape in our key events to have secured qualification for the worlds in Glasgow in August.
“More than that, some of our riders have produced performances of world class coming out of a summer of training at our base in Cambridge.
“I want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication from our coaches, the high performances staff and especially the riders.”
The final Nations Cup is in Milton, Canada next month, with Hollows indicating they are likely to take a small team to that event.