8 Aug 2012

Sprinter snatches cycling bronze for NZ

11:48 am on 8 August 2012

Manawatu sprinter Simon van Velthooven has won bronze in the men's keiren at the Olympic cycling velodrome in London.

Van Velthooven - the youngest and least experienced of the six riders in the final - had finished second in the second round to directly qualify.

Britain's Chris Hoy won the race for his sixth Olympic gold medal.

In the decider, a desperate lunge on the line got van Velthooven into the medals, and after lengthy deliberation, officials declared a rare dead-heat for third between the 23-year-old Feilding rider and Teun Mulder of the Netherlands.

Van Velthooven was over the moon as he told Sky Sport of his delight.

"Ride of my life - Olympic Games, what more could I want? Twenty-three years old from Feilding - Mister Manawatu."

He says it was a dream come true to have won a medal, and for a sprinter even to be at the Olympics was a huge thing for New Zealand.

Van Velthooven says his hard work has paid off and he can't wait for the next Games.

New Zealand thus finishes the track cycling programme with two bronze medals, the other having been won in the men's team pursuit. Its total bag of medals has climbed to nine - three gold, one silver, five bronze.

With his third gold of these Games and his sixth overall, Hoy becomes the most decorated British Olympian ever.

Great Britain dominated the track cycling at the London Olympics, winning seven of the 10 gold medals on offer. Laura Trott won the women's omnium but Australia's Anna Mears denied the Brits a clean sweep on the last day by beating Victoria Pendleton in the sprint final.

Australia was one of three nations to pick up a single gold each.

More track cycling sought

World Cycling's governing body is set to petition the IOC to get more track events at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Cycling currently has an allocation of 10 track gold medals, five for men and five for women.

They are then split, with three sectioned off for sprint events and two for endurance.

However, the International Cycling Union (UCI) would like to see parity, with either the points race or the individual pursuit brought into the fold as an individual race for both men and women.

New Zealand has history in pursuiting with Alison Shanks a pursuit world champion and Hayden Oulston a former Olympic pursuit silver medalist.