Sheath hoping for big Six Day impact
04 October 2018
New Zealander Racquel Sheath is planning to use her maiden Phynova Six Day London to establish herself even more on the world stage.
The 23-year-old Kiwi will make her bow in October and look to build on a year that has seen her take a Commonwealth silver medal and a World Cup title.
However at the World Championships in the Netherlands at the start of the year, she and her New Zealand teammates struggled in both the Madison and the team pursuit.
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And it is against the very best in the world that Sheath believes she has some ground to make up – with Phynova Six Day London the perfect opportunity to hone her skills.
She said: “I’ve had a decent year, I did okay at the World Championships though it wasn’t the best. At the Commonwealth Games I got a team pursuit silver which was awesome, that was a really good feeling.
“I’ve also got a couple of decent World Cup performances with my Madison partner (Michaela Drummond), a win and a third place, so that’s a good place to be.
“I really want to be stepping up this year and I think Six Day can help that, I’ve set my goals really high and I feel a big pressure to redeem myself after the World Championships.
“There is a bit of a need to prove something to myself, I never want to let anyone down and I have a big support group. But at the end of the day I do cycling because I love it.
“Taking part in Six Day London is a big opportunity for me, some of the world’s best Madison girls are competing and I want to be racing with them as much as possible.
“I want to be getting that exposure, getting my name out there and being amongst all the racing.
“I’ve heard the racing is amazing, a lot of fun – some of the most fun racing you have and that was a massive part of me wanting to take part.
“I’ve never really been exposed to anything like that so it’ll be good to get a first-hand view, to get that exposure – hopefully we can have a Six Day in New Zealand one day.”
That is not to say that Sheath is not already a top-class rider. At 21 she was part of a New Zealand team that missed out on a medal by just 3.8 seconds.
She recalls: “It was great to be able to go to Rio, it was amazing but heartbreaking at the same time. Coming fourth and getting so close but so far leaves you wanting more, it increases the drive and definitely gave me more drive.”
Sheath is part of a growing cycling community in New Zealand, where the team sprinters Ethan Mitchell, Eddie Dawkins and Sam Webster have led the way with a trio of world titles.
And Sheath believes that the Land of the Long White Cloud is in the process of turning into a haven for those on two wheels, reminiscent of cycling’s more traditional strongholds in Europe.
She added: “I’m based in Cambridge (NZ) and the community is becoming more and more accepting of cycling, it’s growing more and more and the cycling paths have increased which is great for the sport.
“It’s a rite of passage, I’d love New Zealand to become more like Europe and more accepting of cycling.
“But I haven’t ridden around London, I might get a chance to. The World Cup is a week before in Paris and we’ll be at home after Six Day with the World Cup so I’m hopeful.
“I guess you have to thank Eddie (Dawkins) and Ethan (Mitchell) for me being here – they’ve said it’s the most fun they’ve ever had. I’m looking forward to it, I hear the atmosphere is absolutely insane. I’m not much of a beer drinker though!”
Tickets for Six Day London 2018 start from £20.40 and are available now – here