Rio 2016: New Zealand Cycling Athletes

The women's team pursuit. Photo:

Newsbeat journalist Braeden Leggett gives a rundown on the cycling athletes and what key names to look out for in the Rio Olympics 2016.

Listen to some of his audio commentary below:

Road cycling:

George Bennett (Road race/Time trial)
Linda Villumsen (Road race/Time trial)


  • Sprint

Eddie Dawkins (Men’s sprint/Team sprint)
Sam Webster (Men’s sprint/Team sprint)
Ethan Mitchell (Team sprint)

Natasha Hansen (Women’s sprint/Team sprint)
Olivia Podmore (Women’s sprint/Team sprint)

  • Pursuit

Peter Burling (Men’s team pursuit)
Aaron Gate (Men’s team pursuit)
Regan Gough (Men’s team pursuit)
Hayden Roulston (Men’s team pursuit)

Rushlee Buchanan (Women’s team pursuit)
Lauren Ellis (Women’s team pursuit)
Jamie Nielsen (Women’s team pursuit)
Racquel Sheath (Women’s team pursuit)
Georgia Williams (Women’s team pursuit)

  • Keirin 

Eddie Dawkins (Men’s keirin)
Sam Webster (Men’s keirin)
Natasha Hansen (Women’s keirin)
Olivia Podmore (Women’s keirin)

  • Omnium

Dylan Kennett (Men’s omnium)
Lauren Ellis (Women’s omnium)

Mountain Biking:

Sam Gaze (Men’s cross-country)


Trent Jones (Men’s BMX)

Men's team pursuit announced for the Rio Olympics. Photo Credit.
Men’s team pursuit announced for the Rio Olympics. Photo:


Our two road riders George Bennett and Linda Villumsen will be exciting to watch when they both compete in the time trial and road race. Villumsen will be returning to the Olympics after just missing out on a medal when she came fourth in the time trial at the London Olympics. She had also previously gained fifth place in the road race at Beijing in 2008. She is one to keep an eye on!

Track cycling is my personal favourite event in the Olympics. I always enjoy watching our Kiwis race hard around the velodrome – whether it’s in a team pursuit or an ominium. Sam Webster is a national track cycling champion who also claimed gold in the 2014 Commonwealth games in the team and each sprint. Ethan Mitchell and Eddie Dawkins are both very fast cyclists that could shine in Rio.

The men’s team pursuit is very fast and I would love to see this team claim a medal. The team includes experience from Aaron Gate who claimed bronze in the previous Olympics and Hayden Roulston who wrapped up two medals from the Beijing games. Peter Bulling and Regan Gough will also be included in the team after their stellar performance in the 2015 Yvelines tournament.

The women in their team pursuit will also be looking to fight against the world for some success.

Sam Gaze is ready to take on the world in Rio. Photo:

Who to look out for?

  • Linda Villumsen: Her determination from the previous Olympics could help her chances of gaining a medal this time round.
  • Sam Webster: The current national track cycling champion can definitely get a medal if he puts his mind to it.
  • Men’s team pursuit: They claimed a bronze medal at the last Games; they can do it again.
  • Sam Gaze: Very fast rider in the time trial. Won silver in 2014 Commonwealth. He is capable of success.

Check out Braeden’s take on the New Zealand Olympic swimming team here.

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