21/03/2011 - Cycling Southland’s reputation as a breeding ground for cycling talent was re-confirmed this week with the selection of BikeNZ’s Junior Worlds and Development track cycling squads.
Pieter Bulling, Stephanie McKenzie and Sophie Williamson will all pull on the black skin-suit at this year’s UCI Junior Track World Championships in Moscow in August. Bulling and McKenzie both featured strongly at last year’s event. Bulling narrowly missing medals in the Team Pursuit, Points and Madison races while McKenzie earned four top ten finishes including a silver medal in the Team Sprint. Williamson, in her first year in the Under 19 ranks, was unstoppable at the recent Age Group Track Champs and she followed up her three national track titles with a bronze medal over the weekend at the UCI Under 19 Oceania Road Championships in Australia.
Cycling Southland’s Chief Executive Nick Jeffrey is delighted with the recognition the Club members have received. “It’s great to see all their hard work and determination pay off. Piet, Steph and Sophie will all travel to Moscow as realistic medal chances. For one centre to provide three riders the calibre of this trio I think says a great deal about the benefit of having a world class facility like the ILT Velodrome on your back-door,” Jeffrey said.
Cycling Southland members also feature prominently in the BikeNZ Track Development squads, announced alongside the Junior Worlds team. The squad, a mixture of Under 19 and Under 17 riders, has been selected as part of an ongoing program of developing future champions, with an eye to the Oceania Track Championships which will be held at the ILT Velodrome in Invercargill in November and next year’s Junior World Championships, also to be held in Invercargill.
Josh Haggerty, Michael Culling, Tom Beadle, Jen Muhl, Laura Heywood, Brooke Brazier and Kate Dunlevey all showed the selectors their potential with eye-catching performances at the recent Track Nationals and will join a talented crop of youngsters from around the country in the squad.
In some respects, Jeffrey is even more excited about the Development squad announcement. “Seven riders represents almost a third of the squad and shows the depth of talent coming through the ranks locally. It’s great for the Club to provide a corner-stone of squads like these and it means that other club members will be able to learn and continue to develop locally alongside those selected,” he said.
“The thing you realise about the sport of cycling is that it takes a tremendous amount of dedication and that doesn’t come from only the athlete. The support and sacrifices from coaches and family, in particular, to help these riders achieve can be massive. Cycling Southland congratulate each and every one of them and offers huge thanks to their families and support teams. It’s a real team effort and they should all share in the success.”