Date: Monday, 16 January 2012
Posted by: Cycling Southland

The days of slowly working your way back in to the new year are gone.

Cycling Southland is right in the heart of our most hectic time of the year. In fact, it hasn't really stopped since October.

This year has begun in outstanding fashion at a representative level, with victories for members James Williamson and Nicky Samuels at the elite road nationals, along with a top-five finish for Kylie Young in the women's time trial.

Then on Friday night we were all glued to our computer screens following the progress of four Southlanders riding for New Zealand in Beijing at the latest round of the UCI World Cup meets.

The four world cups are crucial opportunities to gain selection places and qualification points ahead of the world championships in Melbourne in April and the London Olympics in July.

Eddie Dawkins was joined by club-mates Matt Archibald, Cameron Karwowski and Natasha Hansen in the black skin-suit and each staked a claim for world championship consideration.

Archibald broke the 18-second mark for his opening lap in the men's team sprint on the way to a bronze medal with Dawkins, while Karwowski fought illness to also ride his way on to the podium to collect bronze in the team pursuit.

The meet was Hansen's first chance to showcase her talents on the world stage and she claimed fifth in the time trial, a very respectable 13th in the women's sprint and eighth in the team sprint with Otago's Katie Schofield.

We will have to wait to see whether that will be enough for her to earn a berth at the next World Cup and world championships.

Closer to home, we witnessed a phenomenal ride by Jeremy Yates to win the inaugural Milford Mountain Classic on Wednesday.

With such spectacular surroundings, it would be easy to neglect to give Jeremy the credit he deserves for his solo performance.

We followed him on his climb to the Homer tunnel and tried to keep up with him on his descent on the other side. He made both look easy.

Check out cyclingsouth.org.nz/milford to see video and photos from the day.

Our annual ILT new year track carnival at the velodrome on Friday and Saturday was another huge success and a great hitout for young and old before the upcoming national championships.

It's always a joy to watch Pieter Bulling firing on all cylinders, and his victory over classy competition in Saturday night's wheel race final was impressive.

So, too, Mike Culling, who again showed his class in lifting the OJ Memorial Under-17 Wheel Race trophy for a second time – the first rider to achieve that feat.

Mother nature gave us a day off yesterday, with the cancellation of the new year criterium at Ascot Park Hotel, but we're back in business this evening with the 82nd edition of the Gore-to-Invercargill road classic.

So, while you are quietly working your way into 2012, spare us a thought. We in the cycling world aren't quite so lucky.

Nick Jeffrey is Chief Executive of Cycling Southland

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