Date: Friday, 20 January 2017

Good things take time, just ask Invercargill's Mike White.

The 43-year-old who has been cycling since he was 13 years old, won his first ever Stonewood Homes Gore to Invercargill Road Classic cycle race in tailor-made cold and windy conditions on Thursday night.

"Really good actually it's one that has been missing from the cabinet for a wee while, so definitely good to get this one under the belt, I have been trying for it for a few years now," White said.

"I don't mind the head-side winds, being a bit bigger I can stay on the bike, I don't get blown around too much."

The Invercargill rider had a dream ride in the handicap race, after starting in the second break towards the back of the field to claim the $500 first prize.

"Our bunch worked really well together, we caught the next bunch after Mataura so we were quite a big bunch," he said.

"As soon as we hit the side wind it just started to break up a wee bit, but my legs felt fantastic throughout the whole race." 

Last year's winner Brent Spencer from Christchurch finished second, while Paul Gough was third.

Invercargill's Josh Haggerty had the fastest time 1hr 41min 19sec, while Corbin Strong was fastest U19 man and Erin Criglington claimed the women's section.

Meanwhile, Southland cycling fans will have a chance to see New Zealand representative Bradly Knipe racing in Invercargill this weekend at the New Year Track Carnival.

More than 80 riders from around the South Island will take part in the annual two-day carnival at the SIT Velodrome, which starts on Friday night.

"I've done the carnival for at least three years as a junior and it's always heaps of fun," Knipe said.

"It's sort of the start of a new season and with nationals just two weeks away, it's a good chance to get some racing under the belt after the holiday season."

After the carnival and the elite nationals in Invercargill in February, his plan is to move to Cambridge as part of the Cycling New Zealand development team, working with national coaches to enhance his training.

"This year is all about development - getting strong and faster, and working on my track skills," he said.

"The goal remains the Olympics in Tokyo but there's obviously a long way to go to achieve that. But I'm certainly moving in the right direction."

The 18-year-old has relished the step into the elite division, where he has faced "faster and bigger" competition.

Riding third wheel at the World Cup events, he recorded the second best final leg time of anyone in the Scotland meet, and the fastest at The Netherlands event.

With 2017 a development year, there will considerable work going into gaining strength and technique both on the bike and in the gym, he said.

"Strength work is important because it allows you to push bigger gears and be even more competitive," he said.

Work will also continue developing him as person and a rider, including time management skills, something his Invercargill-based coach Karl Watson has been working with him on.

"Developing my mental skills is really important and will help me become a complete rider," Knipe said.

He has embraced the high performance environment and found that it brings benefits to his cycling.

"I really like being in that environment which revolves around what we're trying to do," he said.

At a glance

What: ILT New Year Track Carnival

Where: SIT Velodrome, Invercargill

When: Friday from 6.30pm

Saturday from 6.30pm

Photo and article courtesy Stuff


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