Sam Miller will pull on a New Zealand cycling uniform for the first time next month.
The James Hargest College 16-year-old will head to Canberra with the New Zealand under 17 road team for the Canberra tour.
"Representing New Zealand, just getting noticed, is pretty cool," he said.
Miller has pushed his claims in recent weeks, finishing fifth at the junior Tour of Te Awamutu, an event which includes Tim Gudsell, Peter Latham, Rushlee Buchanan and Westley Gough amongst its past winners, before winning the under 17 boys race at the national club road championship in Hawke's Bay.
The Te Awamutu tour, which included a time trial and two road stages, was a great learning environment for Miller.
"I got fifth overall, that was my first time racing those North Island guys and it gave me good confidence leading into nationals," he said.
"I got third in the last stage, which was the longest one. I tend to go better in the longer stages and got sixth overall in the time trial."
Winning a national title was a highlight of Miller's young career.
"That was pretty crazy. It wasn't too hard for the first lap, but the second lap we started getting into it. I found a breakaway and we worked well together and I won it, so that was pretty cool."
Cycling Southland's Corbin Strong finished ninth in the same race, while Hamish Keast did not finish.
Miller doesn't come from a cycling background, but got his start in the sport like so many other Southland children.
"It really started off with a school trip, just down to the velodrome to have a bit of fun and see what it was like. I went from there and started racing," he said.
"I just really enjoyed it. I started going to trainings and got a bit better, but I guess you could say that I was a bit faster from the start."
Former Cycling Southland coach Dale MacDonald had an important influence on Miller went he first started the sport, while Commonwealth Games and world championship medallist Matt Archibald coached him at under 15 level before Archibald shifted to Cambridge.
Now Dave Beadle and Sid Cumming are coaching the youngster.
"They are really good, really encouraging and helpful," Miller said.
"I just like riding my bike, getting out there and seeing things, having time to yourself or riding with other people."
Southland has produced a generation of cyclists who have achieved on the track and road - names like Eddie Dawkins, Pieter Bulling and Tom Scully - and Miller said that gave him something to aspire to.
"I sure do. They are really inspirational, to see what they are doing and think that you could do the same as well. It would be pretty cool to go that far."
Photo and article courtesy The Southland Times