Cycling New Zealand has named a group of young prospects in its team to contest the third UCI Track World Cup in Colombia next month, including Southland's Kirstie James, Nick Kergozou and Tom Sexton.
A 12-strong team will compete, mostly comprising riders who have medalled at recent junior world championships, with the World Cup set for Cali on 17-19 February.
Post-Olympic year competition has provided New Zealand the opportunity to provide experience for their developing elite riders as they begin the path towards Tokyo 2020.
“This is a largely young group who have had success in the junior ranks and now get their chance to further their development in a challenging environment in Cali,” said Cycling New Zealand Head Coach, Dayle Cheatley.
“We have our high performance group all at various stages of development at present, with some competing on the road, some in international competition overseas, some are focussing on the nationals and the final world cup.
“This was an excellent chance to test this group who have all been training particularly well in Cambridge.”
The team includes double Olympian Lauren Ellis who will provide the experience for a women’s endurance group comprising Nina Wollaston (Auckland), Kirstie James (Invercargill), Bryony Botha (Auckland) and Alysha Keith (Dunedin) who have all tasted top end international competition.
The men’s endurance group is headed by Nick Kergozou, who competed at the world championships last year, and includes Oceania medallist Hugo Jones and junior world champions Campbell Stewart, Tom Sexton and Jared Gray.
The sprinters comprise Rio Olympian Zac Williams and the exciting young Manawatu prospect Jordan Castle.
All riders will compete at next week’s national track championships in Invercargill, after which the team for the final World Cup in Los Angeles on 24-26 February will be named.
The team is:
Male, Sprint: Zac Williams (Auckland), Jordan Castle (Palmerston North). Endurance: Nick Kergozou (Invercargill), Tom Sexton (Invercargill), Campbell Stewart (Palmerston North), Hugo Jones (Christchurch), Jared Gray (Hamilton).
Women endurance: Lauren Ellis (Ashburton), Nina Wollaston (Auckland), Kirstie James (Invercargill), Bryony Botha (Auckland), Alysha Keith (Dunedin).