New Zealand will send a 12-strong team to contest the UCI Juniors Track World Championships in Switzerland, including five Southland riders.
The team includes two current junior world champions who will return for their second tilt at the medals with the championships to be staged at the UCI headquarters in Aigle on 20-24 July.
Palmerston North’s Campbell Stewart won two titles at last year’s world championships in Kazakhstan and fellow Manawatu 17-year-old, Michaela Drummond was part of the winning team pursuit in Astana.
They will be joined by Southland sprinter Emma Cumming, who won a silver medal in Astana last year.
The team will be looking to build on the outstanding recent success from junior riders. The team won six medals last year including three gold, and five each in 2013 and 2014 in Scotland and Korea respectively.
Stewart won the omnium and scratch race titles last year and will return to anchor the endurance riders that include Southland’s Tom Sexton, who rode in the elite team at the recent Hong Kong World Cup, Connor Brown (Auckland), Josh Scott (Christchurch) and Jared Gray (Hamilton).
Southland’s Bradly Knipe is the sole male sprinter, after his outstanding form at the recent national championships in Cambridge.
Drummond, another to already taste elite competition at Hong Kong this summer, will lead the female endurance squad to be joined by Nicole Shields (Alexandra), Emily Shearman (Palmerston North), Kate Smith (Christchurch) and Ellesse Andrews (Wanaka).
Shields and Smith are first-year juniors, both 16, and have impressed this season as riders with big futures.
Cumming, who has recently moved to Cambridge to further her sporting and education careers, won the silver in the team sprint and was fourth in the 500m time trial last year. She will forge an exciting team sprint with Andrews.
Former Olympian Jon Andrews will take up the role of head coach, having recently moved to Cambridge to take up a role as head of the Waikato-Bay of Plenty performance hub.
The team will get a chance for pre-worlds competition at the International Track Series to be stages in Melbourne with two two-day meets from 22-26 June.
It will include the second annual trans-Tasman test clash between the junior teams.
The squad for the worlds will be joined by five riders for the Australian competition.
The teams are:
Junior World Championships, Aigle, Switzerland, 10-14 July:
Female: Emma Cumming (Invercargill), Michaela Drummond (Palmerston North), Emily Shearman (Palmerston North), Nicole Shields (Alexandra), Kate Smith (Christchurch), Ellesse Andrews (Wanaka).
Male: Connor Brown (Auckland), Jared Gray (Hamilton), Bradly Knipe (Invercargill), Josh Scott (Christchurch), Tom Sexton (Invercargill), Campbell Stewart (Palmerston North).
Added to team for International Track Series, Melbourne, 22-26 June:
Male: Hugo Jones (Christchurch), Came Groube (Palmerston North), Jackson Ogle (Christchurch), Hamish Beadle (Invercargill), Georgia Danford (Auckland).