Another weekend passes with more outstanding performances by Southland cyclists on the international scene. It’s early in the track season and for many of our elite athletes the Oceania Championships which ended over the weekend in Adelaide was the start of a long season which they hope will end with success next March at the World Championships in Holland.
For others it was a chance to send a message to the BikeNZ High Performance Programme that theirs is a name to consider. That’s exactly what Pieter Bulling has done. He raised eyebrows for all the right reasons as he trained with the squad at the ILT Velodrome over the past fortnight. Then, when the decision was made to give Tom Scully more time on his comeback from injury, Piet delivered the perfect example of taking one’s opportunity by lighting it up in Adelaide to claim a spot in the Elite team for the Melbourne World Cup starting Thursday. This is one young man going places and I’m told he is leaving many more experienced members of the squad in his wake.
I am also particularly delighted with Tom Beadle’s effort to claim silver in the U19 Keirin, a matching pair of medals after his second-place finish in the U19 Team Sprint on opening night. Tom is another prodigious talent to roll off the Cycling Southland production line and we will watch his age group with particular interest over the next 18 months as they will wear the black skin-suit when the Junior World Champs are staged in Invercargill in 2012.
Our Development Officer Matt Archibald got his first taste of international competition over these championships and finished his debut campaign by leading out his three-some to fifth place in Saturday’s Team Sprint qualifications. Matt has only been in the sport for a handful off years but has a work ethic and raw power which guarantees his choice to change his oars for a bike was a wise one.
The most exciting news is that all of the guys and girls who starred at the Oceanias along with the full BikeNZ Elite and Development squads and internationals will be lining up in the ILT International Festival of Speed next week.
We’ve had a lot of fun putting this event together because it has been about a lot more than track cycling. Our entertainment includes stunt BMX rider Paul Langlands and friends. Having seen video online of this guy, I can’t wait to see what he and his mates deliver next week. We’ve got live music from The Heartleys and Lipstick to complement the adrenaline pumping track cycling.
Yes, I’m biased. But if you have never been to a cycling event before, this is the one to come to. $20 gets the whole family in for two or three hours of awesome entertainment. And if that’s not enough we’ll offer an unashamed bribe by putting you in the draw to win a weekend to Adelaide in January. Sold? I sure am.