“As soon as I crossed the line I thought there must have been a number missing in front of the eight,” he said.
The board was not lying. The 17-year-old track cyclist had smashed the previous world record for the under-19 men’s 3000m individual pursuit by three seconds.
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“It was pretty crazy when I came across the line because I knew I did a pretty fast time judging by my splits my coach was giving me, but I didn’t think I would have beaten the record by that much. It’s just unheard of to go under 3:10 so I was hoping to just scrape a 3:11.”
Fisher-Black posted the record during qualifying at last weekend’s national championships in Cambridge, where he now boards after transferring from Nelson College to St Peter’s last year.
But the joy of adding a world record to his resume, which already includes a world title in the team pursuit, was quickly dashed when Fisher-Black was notified by his coach that his time would not count as official world record, as there was no UCI officials or doping control in place during qualifying.
He would have to do have to do it all again in the final later that evening.
“I came in pretty happy because I was really stoked that I had done it, but I was really gutted that it didn’t count. Originally when I first finished the race I thought all the drug protocols and UCI people were there but soon after I got in my coach came in and told me they weren’t so I’d have to do it all again tonight.
“I just went home and tried to recover as much as possible.”
Despite posting a slightly slower time of 3:09.710 in the final, Fisher-Black still managed to better the previous world record and claim a gold medal.
“It’s pretty surreal. I don’t think it’s really sunk it yet because it was such a big deal to me before and now I can tell myself I hold a world record. It just doesn’t seem real. I’m beyond happy. If you told me a year ago I would go under 3:10 for a 3k I’d have told you to jog on, you’re having a laugh.”
Fisher-Black comes from a cycling mad family. His sister Niamh is one of New Zealand’s most promising female cyclists. She competed at the road world championships last year, finishing 36th, and earlier this year finished 13th at the Women’s Tour Down Under.
“You always hear Fisher-Black everywhere and it’s kind of cool to see my sister going well. She’s done really well in Australia recently racing some top level pro tours so it’s been cool to watch and it’s been pretty inspiring as well.
“We just grew up on cycling, it’s in our blood really and it means a lot to us. We’ve always been pushing each other along and helping each other.”
Without a velodrome in Nelson, Fisher-Black’s involvement in track cycling has been limited. However, a move to Cambridge last year in the lead up to the world championships has given him a chance to train specifically for the discipline in a highly competitive environment and he is now reaping the rewards.
“I always focussed on the road and a lot of my traits on the road could have been really good on the track if I just trained, like I was quite good in the time trial on the road and you’re just by yourself and it’s just you and the clock, which is what it’s like on the track, just a bit shorter. So I’ve just developed more and more by training for specific things on the track.”
Having ticked off the world record in the individual pursuit so early in the year, Fisher-Black said he now plans to spend more time on the road and has set himself the ambitious goal of competing at the world championships on the road and track in 2019.
“I’m going to try and tie them both in together and that will be the main goal for the year. There’s not many people that have done it so it’s going to be a hard goal to achieve but I’m going to try to make that one possible this year.”