Date: Thursday, 07 December 2017

Pedal power has been to the fore in recent weeks in Southland with a host of different events. Cycling Southland general manager Mark Hotton reflects on the busy period.

It's been a fantastic few weeks of – and for – cycling in Southland, with riders putting in impressive performances both at home, in Cambridge and overseas.

An impressive spell of good weather – you'll have noticed the traditional bad weather arrived a week late – made the SBS Bank Tour of Southland an absolute belter, with Cycling Southland receiving numerous rave reviews for the event and the high quality of racing.

It was won by Kia-Ascot Park Hotel rider James Piccoli, from Canada, but it was the event and the province that was the real winner.

Images and videos have been shared in various forms of media around the world and riders are already counting down until the next event.

We hope to finalise the date before Christmas.

It's a massive logistical challenge to bring more than 100 riders and support staff from around the world, and an even greater test to get them to safely navigate almost 1000km around the province.

Thanks again to our amazing volunteers, many who take holidays from work to be involved, and a massive thanks to Bruce Ross and his family for the hours they put in.

It's the premiere stage race in the country and everyone plays a vital role in its success.

Southland riders also competed extremely well at the Oceania Track Championships in Cambridge last month, with a stand-out performance by Corbin Strong in the U19 omnium.

That win lifted him to the top of the UCI world U19 omnium rankings, which is an impressive effort and a testament to the hard work he has put in.

He continued that good form at the 2018 Southland Track Championships held in Invercargill at the weekend, with riders of all ages taking part in some extremely hot conditions.

Special mention must be made of Rhylee Akeroyd and Mitchel Fitzsimons, who managed to set U15 500 Time Trial track records on Friday.

Akeroyd rode 38.527 to beat Steph McKenzie's long-standing 38.545, set in 2007, while Fitzsimons rode 35.091 to beat Kaio Lart's record of 35.534, set earlier this year.

Conor Shearing also set an U17 Flying 200 record recently, breaking the old mark of 11.2secs, with a time of 11.134 seconds.

The Southland Mountain Bike Club hosted two successful events at the weekend – the Speight's Four Hour Funduro and the Wensley Cycles Kids Skids.

They have more events coming up, including the Invercargill Brewery Single Speed Champs at Sandy Point on December 15.

Photo courtesy Stuff

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