18/05/2011 - New Zealand women's elite track coach Dayle Cheatley is pleased with his squad's progress 14 months out from the Olympic Games.
The nine-strong squad is in camp in Invercargill this week, sheltering from the hail in the ILT Velodrome as it looks to rediscover its "track legs" and do some bonding before a United States programme that will be vital for laying the base for New Zealand's London 2012 campaign.
"Everything is about London. When we take off to the States it's the first part of our last phase. It's about building a big aerobic base and it also gives us a chance to train in the sun," Cheatley said.
"We've got a big squad. I've got nine in my elite squad and also four of the girls going to the junior worlds. The depth is getting stronger.
"We've reached our targets in the last track season – time wise, power wise, development wise. We are on track but you can't control what other nations are doing.
"According to our objectives we are pretty happy with where we are sitting."
Cheatley was tight-lipped about new technology the squad was trialling, although they were working with special Avanti frames. The New Zealand pursuit team of Alison Shanks, Kaytee Boyd and Jaime Nielsen won bronze at the world championships in March, just pipping the Australians in the ride-off for third place.
The Great Britain team beat the United States in the final.
With no individual pursuit at the Olympics, Shanks' focus would be on the 3000m team race, but just who would join her was unknown, Cheatley said.
"Our main event at the Olympics is a three-person team (pursuit) and Ali is only one of those riders.
"We've still got two others who will line up next to her and they all need each other to win that medal.
"They are a great unit, they are a strong team, on the bike and off it, they have got a strong culture," he said.
"We've got a starting group of nine and to be honest any one of them could be in that lineup.
"It's going to be a tough call come Olympic selection time when we can only take three or four."
The Southland Times