Cycling New Zealand will send one of its biggest ever teams to next month’s Oceania Track Championships in Melbourne, including 12 Southland representative riders.
With next year’s world championships pushed back to April, and an early start to the world cup series in Europe, Cycling New Zealand decided to instead focus on the Oceania Championships to kick-start the international season.
Forty-one New Zealand riders will compete in both elite and under-19 ranks in the four-day competition on 7-10 December at the DISC Arena in Darebin, north-east of Melbourne.
“This presents a good opportunity to collect valuable UCI world championship qualifying points under their new system and also the chance to blood some new talent who have enjoyed success in as juniors, as they move into the senior ranks,” said Cycling New Zealand head coach Dayle Cheatley.
“It is also a chance to expose riders to the new racing rules which have been recently been changed by the UCI across many of the events.”
The team includes Rio Olympic endurance riders Piet Bulling, Regan Gough and Aaron Gate, who will ride for his Auckland centre team), Jaime Nielsen and Racquel Sheath (who will both ride for Waikato).
The Rio sprinters to compete include silver medallists Sam Webster, Ethan Mitchell and Eddie Dawkins.
With a capacity team in national team, some riders will compete in their centre colours in Melbourne.
With the later than usual date for the world championships in Hong Kong, Cycling New Zealand has only sent three sprinters to the opening two world cups starting tonight in Glasgow, in sprinters Simon van Velthooven, Zac Williams and Bradly Knipe, who will also compete at the Oceania Championships.
The team is (Southland riders in bold):
Elite, men endurance: Pieter Bulling, Hugo Jones, Regan Gough, Connor Brown, Jared Gray, Nick Kergozou, Tom Sexton, Aaron Gate (Auckland), Luke Mudgway (ECNI).
Women endurance: Bryony Botha, Michaela Drummond, Holly Edmondston, Kirstie James, Alysha Keith, Nina Wollaston, Jaime Nielsen (Waikato),Racquel Sheath (Waikato).
Men sprint: Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Jordan Castle (WCNI), Bradly Knipe (Southland), Simon van Velthooven (WCNI), Zac Williams (Auckland).
Women sprint: Emma Cumming
Under 19 men endurance:
Aaron Wyllie, Corbin Strong, Ewan Syme, George Jackson, Matt Trenchard.
Women endurance: Ellesse Andrews, Emily Shearman, Georgia Danford, Libby Arbuckle, Kate Smith, Nicole Shields.
Men sprint: Mitchell Morris, Jackson Ogle, Thomas Garbett.
Women sprint: Shaane Fulton, Sophie Leigh-Bloxham.