Queenstown bike ace’s news blues


Mountain bike star Kate Fluker has aimed a volley at Cycling New Zealand for emailing bad news just two days before the world champs.

The national cross country champion, 28, raced to 41st position in the elite women’s race at the UCI World Championships in Vallnord Bike Park, Andorra, on Saturday.

Queenstowner Fluker says her performance was affected by illness and a long season that “absolutely nailed my

And Cycling NZ cutting her from a familiarisation trip to Rio, Brazil, in October probably didn’t help.

“While feeling pretty crook and sorry for myself I got an email from Cycling NZ two days before my race,” Fluker says on Facebook.

“[They] informed me that they are no longer taking myself and another rider to the test event due to the falling NZ dollar.

“This may be the case however I feel the timing of this was completely unfair especially when I was already struggling to have confidence in my ability at this time.”

Fluker says she can’t say whether it affected her race.

She “doesn’t want to make excuses” and knows she gave 100 per cent.

Cycling NZ high director Mark Elliot blames her coach Sam Thompson, saying the communication was not sent directly to the riders.

Elliot says: “It is my understanding a coach chose to discuss this with Kate before considering solutions which one other coach presented.”

Elliot says he “appreciates the timing was not ideal” but deadlines on bookings and race entry had to be met. The
‘test event’ acts as a familiarisation for the Rio Olympics, but has no actual impact on selection for the Games.

Elliot says sport science staff believe sending one rider, Christchurch’s Anton Cooper, to the test event will work.

“We will be capturing a wide range of technical data that will be fed back to the riders,” he says.

Meanwhile, Queenstown’s national downhill champion Alanna Columb narrowly missed out on the top 10 with a committed ride at the world champs.

The hot-shot racer battled slippery forest conditions and one of the steepest sections ever in a championship downhill course, at Vallnord Bike Park in Andorra on Sunday.

She placed 11th in the women’s elite race, five seconds behind fellow Kiwi Sophie Tyas and 50 seconds off gold medallist Rachel Atherton, who was in a class of her own in the 31-strong field. Columb, 27, sped down the two-and-a-half kilometre course in just 5 minutes 59 seconds, finishing with huge air off the final jump.