Date: Monday, 16 January 2012
Posted by: Cycling Southland

Sophie Williamson at the ILT New Year CarnivalAlexandra's Sophie Williamson pretty much did it all last week.

The 17-year-old won the women's race in the inaugural Milford Mountain Classic on Wednesday night, spent two nights on the track as part of the New Year carnival and was racing on grass at the Browns sports on Saturday. "I'm getting a lot of k's in, but I'm pretty smashed," she said.

It's a big year for the talented bike rider. Williamson is expected to be one of New Zealand's top medal hopes when the Invercargill velodrome hosts the junior world track championships in August and she also hopes to qualify for the junior women's race at the world road championships to be contested in Limberg, the Netherlands, in September.

It's been a great start to the year already for the Williamson family – as well as Sophie's victory in the 120km Milford Sound to Te Anau race last week, brother James won the elite men's title at the national championships in Christchurch this month.

Meanwhile, Michael Culling became the first rider to get his name twice on the prestigious OJ Henderson junior wheel race trophy when he won the handicap event at the Invercargill velodrome on Saturday night. Nick Kerkozou was second and Conor Stead third. Pieter Bulling claimed the open division wheel race final after a thrilling finish. He got the nod from the judges after throwing his front wheel across the line. Dylan Kennett was second and Tayla Harrison third.

Matt Eddie and Simon on the podium in BeijingStill on the track but across the world in Beijing, Southland's Matt Archibald has won a world cup medal on debut with the New Zealand men's team sprint in the Chinese capital.

Archibald, fellow Southlander Eddie Dawkins and Simon van Velthooven qualified third-fastest and then beat Venezuela in the ride-off for bronze, with van Velthooven pulling off a big final lap.

The men's pursuit team of Westley Gough, Southland's Cameron Karwowski, Peter Latham and Myron Simpson edged out Great Britain for bronze in the 4000m team pursuit, clocking 4 minutes 3.758 seconds.

The women's pursuit team of Kaytee Boyd, Rushlee Buchanan and Gemma Dudley were fourth.

Southland's Natasha Hansen and Otago rider Katie Schofield, also making their debut at world cup level in the women's team sprint, finished eighth. Hansen went on to finish fifth in the 500m time trial and then qualified eighth in the individual sprint before getting knocked out in the round of 16.

The ILT-sponsored New Year carnival finishes tonight with the annual Gore-to-Invercargill road classic. The handicap race starts in Gore at 6.30pm, with the first riders expected at the Tay St finish about 8pm.

Story courtesy of The Southland Times

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