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America's Cup: Kiwi Cup cyclors do laps of the velodrome

by Emirates Team NZ 3 Mar 20:58 PST 4 March 2024
Emirates Team NZ cyclors line up for Velodrome Training - March 4, 2024 © Emirates Team New Zealand

With Emirates Team New Zealand last sailing their AC75 Te Rehutai in Barcelona on October 24, 2023, the ‘cyclors’ have been embarking on a significantly focused training block over the summer, under the watchful eye of team trainer Kim Simperingham.

It is a block that has shown difficult gains, achieved by long and painful hours, of often monotonous training for the cyclor squad, as they prepare to power up the next generation AC75, which will be used to defend the America’s Cup later this year.

“Obviously, a lot of the focus for the team is on the launch of boat three which is not far away now, and after a seriously good block of training over the summer, this was one of the last opportunities to get out of town and try something a bit different with the guys, measure their fitness levels and have a bit fun.” Said Simperingham.

The location, Cambridge’s Grassroots Trust Velodrome, which provided a cycling discipline most of the team have never experienced - that is of course apart from Simon van Velthooven, who famously won an Olympic bronze medal in the keirin in London 2012.

“The Siberian Pine is going to be working hard here, so it’s good to get the adrenalin back up by coming on to the velodrome, and get some real speed before we get back into the big boat.” Said van Velthooven.

“It’s easy on the boat, you just pedal, but unfortunately here, you have to think while you're riding this bike.”

Which bought an additional element to the training as well as the expected competition between the cyclors.

It was a first doing high speed explosive circuits around the velodrome for former New Zealand rower Cam Webster

“I’ve never been on a velodrome before. To actually come and do it really breaks up the overall training program nicely. You get into a spot and you just want to go faster and faster and faster. It’s so much fun.”

Like everything in the America’s Cup, it’s always about going faster and faster, and for the cyclors, pushing themselves harder and harder.

“Once the cyclors got a feel for the track, they pushed each other through a series of maximum effort time trials from single laps up to 1km.” said Simperingham.

“We have a really competitive squad of athletes, so it was an awesome opportunity for them to measure up against each other at the velodrome, and get a sense of how they compare to the elite track riders. The impressive track, the slick bike technology and the rapid speeds all combined to create quite a buzz for the group. There’s good energy and they’re pushing it hard, so it's good.”

Watching on was Craig Rodger, Head of Programs and Coaching at the Velodrome who helped facilitate the day.

"Like sailors navigating uncharted waters, the Emirates Team New Zealand cyclors conquered the Grassroots Trust Velodrome, maybe not with grace but definitely determination and skill. A real testament to their team bond and unity of diverse sporting spirit. It was an absolute pleasure to put these guys through the ringer and we wish them all the very best.”

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