Attending two training camps at the Cambridge velodrome in the past year has given Bradly Knipe an invaluable insight into professional cycling.
Knipe, a 16-year-old at Southland Boys' High School, will be competing at the Oceania Track Championships in the Invercargill velodrome on October 8 to11. His build up has included training with the New Zealand juniors in Cambridge just before they left for the Juniors' World Track Championships in Kazakhstan in early August.
"I learned heaps. It was a real professional atmosphere," Knipe said.
"You've got to be well-prepared - being on time and not forgetting things."
The high performance gymnasium equipment and observing how top cyclists conducted themselves impressed Knipe, who is in Academy Southland's Pathway to Podium programme.
He and top Invercargill cyclist Emma Cumming, who won a silver medal in the women's team's sprint at the world champs last week, are coached by Karl Watson. Knipe began training with Watson last October and at about the same time, he won a bronze medal in the kilo time-trial at an Oceania meet in Adelaide.
Knipe showed potential through the times he was recording last year.
"He's slowly been building in confidence," Watson said.
The teenager won the under-19s keiren and tasted success in the teams' sprint for Southland at the nationals in Cambridge in January. He also picked up bronze in the kilo time-trial and match sprint.
In May, Knipe landed a third in the teams' sprint at an international track meet in Adelaide.
As the Oceania champs approach, Watson is working on strength training with Knipe. It fits into the six days of training Knipe does every week.
Three days a week are spent in a gymnasium and the other three training at the velodrome.
"He's very relaxed but at the start line [in races], he switches on," Watson said of Knipe.
"He's got very good top end speed."
Knipe's long range goal is to compete at next year's Juniors' World Track Championships, likely to be in London.
Photo and article courtesy The Southland Times