NEW Zealand cycling stars Shane Archbold and Marc Ryan believe they have the form and skill to be serious contenders in Sunday night’s Bendigo International Madison track classic.
Speaking before last night’s carnival launch at the Bendigo Town Hall, the Kiwis said they were not daunted by taking on such a world-class field.
“We are certainly not just here to participate – we believe we can win,” said Archbold, who goes into this race minus the mullet that caught the attention of cycling fans around the world.
Sunday night’s race will be Archbold’s fourth, and it’s a first for Ryan.
Archbold’s best result in the Bendigo International Madison is third.
“The atmosphere at this race is unbelievable,” he said of the 200-lap contest on the outdoor track at the Tom Flood Sports Centre in Barnard Street.
“Marc and I are used to the outdoor tracks in New Zealand, but the noise the crowd in Bendigo makes is incredible.”
The duo from Timaru have been two of their country’s most dominant track riders in recent years and are confident their sprinting and pursuit skills, and track nous, can match the stars from Europe and Australia.
Ryan is a triple Olympian and won bronze in the teams pursuit at last year’s Olympic Games.
The Kiwis warmed up for Bendigo by being third in last Saturday night’s Melbourne Madison.
“Racing on an outdoor track is an advantage we have on a lot of the Europeans,” Ryan said of the unique D-shaped track in Bendigo.
“We are reasonably strong in the sprints, and can also chase or be in a breakaway move or two.”
Opponents in Sunday’s madison include Swiss star Franco Marvulli, Germany’s Leif Lampater and Christian Grassman, Belgian champion Kenny de Ketele and Dutch cyclist Roy Pieters.
Marvulli is aiming for consecutive Bendigo International Madison wins, while de Ketele, world madison champion in 2012, will race in Bendigo for the first time.
Six-time world track champion, Cameron Meyer from Western Australia will join forces with New Zealand’s newest world champion Aaron Gate.
Meyer won at most recent Bendigo appearance two years ago.
Other teams to watch out for are South Australia’s Alex Edmondson, a gold medallist in the teams pursuit at last month’s world titles, teaming up with Luke Davison from NSW, and Australian Madison champions Miles Scotson and George Tansley, who is now based in Adelaide after moving from Mandurang.
Archbold and Ryan said there were many dangers in the 16-team field.
A big weekend of racing includes the Regional Academy Cycling Excellence women’s madison on Saturday night.
The 60-lap duel, a first in carnival history, will start at 8.20pm.
A 10-team field includes Bendigo sisters Imogen and Marquessa Jelbart, and clubmates Tayla Evans, Emma Jackson and Toni Abbisogni.
Teams for the McCaig Airconditioning and Daikin-backed Bendigo International Madison at 7.45pm on Sunday – Franco Marvulli (Switzerland) and Nick Stopler (Netherlands); Leif Lampater and Christian Grassman (Germany); Todd Schintler (Bendigo) and Mark Jamieson (Tasmania); Jay Dutton and Nathan Bradshaw (NSW); Cameron Meyer (WA) and Aaron Gate (New Zealand); Jeremy Scott and Jordan Davies (NSW); Haydn Bradbury and Cameron Parvliet (Victoria); Shane Archbold and Marc Ryan (New Zealand); Kenny de Ketele (Belgium) and Roy Pieters (Netherlands); Brendan Schultz (Bendigo) and Tyler Spurrell (Victoria);
Alex Edmondson (South Australia) and Luke Davison (NSW); Josh Harrison (SA) and Sam Welsford (WA); George Tansley (Bendigo) and Miles Scotson (South Australia); Jack Edwards and Brad Heffernan (NSW); Scott Law and Aaron Donnelly (NSW); Luke Parker (Victoria) and Harry Carpenter (SA).