Date: Monday, 21 August 2017

New Zealand cyclist Bradly Knipe is on track for a big year on the bike.

The 18-year-old returned home to Invercargill recently following a two-month stint in the United States, where he was part of the victorious New Zealand men's team sprint, which claimed a UCI event at the Trexlertown track in Pennsylvania.

The Cambridge-based rider is switching his attention towards making an impression at World Cup events starting in November, in order to gain selection in the New Zealand team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The New Zealand team faces a hectic schedule once the season rolls around, starting with World Cup events in Poland on November 4 and Great Britain a week later, before the Oceania Track Cycling Championships commence on November 20 in Cambridge.

"Early November are the first couple, which are very close to the Oceanias, like there is a week difference, which is going to be pretty full on," Knipe said.

According to the former Academy Southland rider, the New Zealand selectors will assess the cyclists as they choose their squad of four or five men's sprint riders to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games in April 2018.

Knipe will have his work cut out, with the World Championship winning trio of Eddie Dawkins, Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell likely to have the inside running.

"Basically we are going to do a test day and they are going to see how we are all progressing throughout this year and early next year and go off that and see how everyone is going," he said. 

"I am going to give it everything, try and get in the team, and if I do, then awesome, if not, then I am just going to train through it."

The Southland sprinter found riding in the US to be an 'incredible' experience.

He was part of a New Zealand team, which competed in several UCI events and other races, as well as training on the 333-metre, outdoor concrete velodrome, which required some adjustment for Knipe.

The Kiwis stayed at the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and road their bikes to and from the track. 

"We stayed at a University and the track was about 45 minutes riding away, so we had to do that every day, which was fun, there and back," he said.

The highlight of the two months was picking up the team sprint title in one of the UCI international events, with New Zealand team-mates Zac Williams and Jordan Castle edging their Dutch rivals in an exciting final.

"I was pretty fortunate to start that, which was cool and that was a pretty cool race to do against the Dutch," he said.

"I am pretty happy with my results and some really incredible competition."

"We only ended up doing one team sprint, which was in the first month we were there, but I think it went quite well."

The workload in the first month, in particular, tested the teenage rider.

"For the month there was UCI racing every week, which was full on, a few days racing at each one, that was full gas, we would do a sprint day, then keirins and then more sprints and then like a team sprint, it was pretty full on," he said.

"They also had weekly racing every Friday, which was more like a club thing, it wasn't as big, but it was still incredible racing."

Photo and article courtesy Stuff

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