New Zealand’s leading track cyclists won’t need much rocking to sleep at this week’s Oceania Championships in Adelaide.
The Championships have fallen early in their return from a break following the Commonwealth Games, with riders training through this week’s exhaustive racing schedule.
BikeNZ head track coach Dayle Cheatley said while the championships are important in terms of Olympic qualifying points, the main focus is the world championships next February.
“The riders will all be training through this event. They are all at different levels but all have only just come back from a long break after Glasgow,” Cheatley said.
“In fact most of our riders are in a big training phase right now. If we do not lay down a big base now, then they won’t perform in February.”
Cheatley said the Australians are in a similar situation.
“We will be riding hard to get as many qualifying points as possible but I am not expecting world class times.
“Our endurance riders have been out on the road every morning since we arrived and then training on the track in the afternoons.”
The championships also pose a sizeable test with a full world championship schedule squeezed into four days.
“It means there will be some long, long days here at the velodrome for sure.”
It will mark the return of a full women’s endurance squad, competing over 4000 metres with four riders in the team pursuit for just the second time since the last Oceania Championships in Invercargill.
The championships also see the emergence of promising young riders including Cameron Karwowski, who has focussed on the road for the last few years, and talented Waikato rider Racquel Sheath, formerly from North Harbour.
While some exciting young talent will be on show, there is also the return of London Olympic team pursuit medallist Westley Gough, who won the bronze medal in the individual pursuit at the 2012 world championships. He has been plagued with niggling injuries in the last 18 months.
“It’s great to see Wes back and his experience will be a real asset to the programme.”
The Oceania Championships begin tomorrow with the team pursuit and team sprint for women and men, along the time trial in the evening programme along with scratch races.
The New Zealand team is:
Male, sprint: Matt Archibald (Invercargill), Eddie Dawkins (Invercargill), Sam Webster (Auckland), Ethan Mitchell (Auckland)
Endurance: Westley Gough (Waipukurau), Pieter Bulling (Invercargill), Marc Ryan (Timaru), Aaron Gate (Auckland), Cameron Karwowski (Invercargill), Tom Scully (Invrcargill),
Female, sprint: Katie Schofield (Dunedin), Stephanie McKenzie (Invercargill),
Endurance: Lauren Ellis (Hinds), Jaime Nielsen (Cambridge), Holly Edmondston (Waimate), Georgia Williams (Auckland), Raquel Sheath (Te Awamutu),
Male, endurance: Sam Buckner (Christchurch), Hamish Beadle (Invercargill),
Endurance: Campbell Stewart (Palmerston North), Tom Sexton (Invercargill), Lachlan McGregor (Dunedin), Max Jones (Christchurch).
Female, sprint: Emma Cumming (Invercargill), Jaymie King (Taupo).
Endurance: Michaela Drummond (Ashurst), Makayla Smith (Invercargill), Ione Johnson (Wellington),
Reserves: Kendall Kilpatrick (Invercargill), Madeleine Park (Auckland).
Coaches: Dayle Cheatley, Anthony Peden (elite); Ross Machejekski, Mark Lucas (junior).
Photo courtesy Dianne Manson