Date: Tuesday, 01 March 2016

Southland cyclist Nick Kergozou is feeling refreshed heading into the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in London on Wednesday.

He is looking forward to his first elite world championships after two weeks recharging the batteries following a busy start to the year.

"Coming into these world champs I'm feeling good," he said.

"Heading into nationals I was a bit fatigued from riding a road tour and intense training, so I made sure I had time to freshen up for my first world champs."

"I have definitely been feeling good on the bike throughout training."

Kergozou had a mixed nationals at Cambridge in February.

His results included a silver medal for Southland in the team pursuit and a sixth place in the 1km time trial.

"I was feeling pretty fatigued coming in to nationals and it showed," he said.

"I had some highs and lows." 

The 19-year-old will don the New Zealand lycra suit for his first elite level world championships.

The team now faces the challenge of adjusting to the London conditions. 

"The track is a lot different to what I have ridden before, but each session I'm feeling more comfortable adapting to it.

"It's cool to see the old Olympic village and get a perspective of the environment."

Going from a Kiwi summer to winter has also taken some acclimatisation for the former Southland Boys' High School student.

"You need to wear full winter gear and balaclavas to ride to the track each time and you can still feel the cold," he said. ​

Kergozou is taking a confident approach to the London meeting.

"You've got to have everything prepared on the line and have confidence in the race ahead to deliver a winning ride," he said.

The New Zealand squad of 18 includes five Southland riders.

Kergozou will by vying for a position in the defending champion men's team pursuit squad.  

The endurance rider has the ability to ride in other endurance events including the omnium.

Fellow Southland rider Piet Bulling returns as part of the team pursuit squad for their title defence. 

Natasha Hansen is likely to ride in the individual sprint and keirin along with the team sprint.

She had an impressive nationals campaign where she ended the meeting with four sprint titles, two national records and increased confidence heading towards the world champs.

Eddie Dawkins is part of the men's sprint team who will be looking for revenge this year after being relegated to the silver medal at the event last year.  

He is also likely to ride in the keirin too.

Matt Archibald is a versatile sprinter who won a bronze medal in the 1km time trial at last year's world championships and has the ability to ride in all three positions in the men's team sprint, if needed.

Cycling Southland is pleased to have such a strong southern presence at the champs.

"We are very proud to have such strong representation again in our New Zealand team at the World Championships," Cycling Southland administration and communications officer Melissa Chilton said.

"It is rewarding to know that the new blood of the likes of Nick Kergozou is also starting to make an appearance in the top Kiwi ranks and starting to get the vital world exposure they need to continue developing." 

The UCI Track Cycling World Championships run from Wednesday to Sunday at the Lee Valley Velo Park in London.

The Southland cyclists in the NZ track cycling team for the world championships are:

Men, endurance: Piet Bulling, Nic Kergozou; sprint: Matt Archibald, Eddie Dawkins.

Women, sprint: Natasha Hansen.

Article and photo courtesy Stuff


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