Tokyo Olympics 2020: Kiwis finish fourth in men's team pursuit after crash in bronze medal race

The NZ Team, Wednesday, August 4, 2021

A riveting race for the bronze medal in the men’s team pursuit between New Zealand and Australia turned hollow on the track of the Izu Velodrome, with the Kiwis losing a rider to a crash inside the final 1700m of the 4000m race.

Riding on the back of the quartet, Aaron Gate got his wheel on the underside of the rider in front of him, then hit the deck as he tried to correct his position while Regan Gough peeled off the front to exit the race – as one member does late in the piece in the team pursuit. At the time, the Kiwis held a slim lead heading into what was shaping up to be a frantic finish.

Full Kiwi schedule below. Click on a name to see athlete’s bio, upcoming events, past Games performance and medal chance.

The crash left the New Zealanders in disarray, with the rider who peeled off the front unable to get on the wheel of the other two teammates still in the race. The two lead riders took a moment to notice, and eventually, the Kiwis were riding by themselves.

The Australian team caught the back New Zealand rider inside the final 400m to overlap the Kiwis, which brought an end to the race and saw Australia claim the bronze.

The New Zealand team were riding at about 67km/h when Gate went down, and there was a loud thump as he appeared to hit his head against the slanted wall of the velodrome.

Absolute heartbreak for the Men’s TP Team who crashed in their bronze medal race off while leading against the…

Posted by The NZ Team on Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Gate was able to walk away from the crash but sustained visible burns to his hands and right shoulder from sliding across the velodrome floor, with the combination of the high speed and hard floor causing his skin suit to tear. As he walked away after the race, Gate turned to the camera and mouthed “sorry”.

The men’s team pursuit was the first of three events Gate was entered in during the Tokyo Olympics, with the omnium – an event made up of four spearate races – and madison endurance race still on his agenda.

“He’s walking,” Gough told Sky Sport of Gate’s condition after the crash. “He’s got a pretty full-on race calendar in the next couple of days so fingers crossed he’s all good.

“It couldn’t have happened at a worse time. I was doing what you call a suicide turn and getting out of there, emptied everything I had then ejected, then you hear a guy crash and have to continue, it’s literally the worst thing that could have happened.”

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