Despite a crash, Hayden Strong showed promise as part of the 14-strong Cycling Southland junior squad at the recent Te Awamutu Tour and national road race championships in Waikato.
Strong finished second in the King of the Mountains in the under-17 field at the Te Awamutu tour before turning his sights on the national championships in Cambridge.
Strong finished sixth in a tight time trail event before producing a superb race in the under-17 road race only to be cut short by a crash. He had put himself in a good position to win the national title before those hopes were ripped away late in the race.
There were 31 in the finishing bunch and Strong was sprinting with the race favourite before he got knocked and crashed.
Sid Cumming, who was part of the management for the Southland team, said that despite the crash, Strong highlighted his ability in an impressive ride and indicated he is one for the future.
"He was sprinting for a medal and boom he was gone," Cumming said. "From where I was, Hayden Strong would have definitely got a medal and the other cyclists in the crash said the same thing so, to be fair, it was a brilliant race from him."
"A couple of the opposition riders said Hayden was going to win it."
Another Southlander to stand out during the North Island trip was Hamish Keast, who won the under-15 section of the Te Awamutu Tour. In the same event, Corbin Strong picked up the King of the Mountain honour.
Keast also won the under-15 time trial event at the national championships. It was a Southland quinella with Strong finishing second.
Strong also finished second in the under-15 road race.
Another performance of note was Brayden Stephens third placing in the under-17 category of the Te Awamutu Tour.
Photo and article courtesy The Southland Times