The country’s best track cyclists, including the squads competing in next month’s world championships, will line-up for titles in the Vantage Elite and Under19 National Championships in Cambridge this week.
The championships, that have attracted 127 riders, will take place at the Avantidrome from Thursday until Sunday.
All of the riders selected for the world championships will be competing over a range of events along with the best elite and under-19 riders.
“A national championship title is something that is coveted by all of our riders,” said Cycling New Zealand High Performance Director, Martin Barras.
“Clearly it is a final competition for our riders heading to next month’s world championship and an opportunity for them to test their procedures and tactics, while for some they are returning to the track after some road racing.
“Perhaps more importantly this is one of the final opportunities for riders, both current elites and promising young riders, to show themselves. Performances this week will go a long way towards the decisions we will make on carding, national selections and training squads going forward to the next Commonwealth Games and Olympic cycle through to 2024 and 2028.”
The men’s sprint events will feature Sam Webster, Ethan Mitchell, Eddie Dawkins, Jordan Castle, Zac Williams, and Callum Saunders from the elite squad along with interesting newer riders like former BMX world age champion Cailen Calkin among the challengers.
The endurance events feature some stellar competition especially in the omnium with the likes of Harry Waine, Tom Sexton, Nick Kergozou, Corbin Strong, George Jackson, junior world Madison champion Kiaan Watts, and Dylan Kennett while world champion Campbell Stewart will focus on the 1000m time trial, Points race and Scratch race.
The women’s sprint events will feature Natasha Hansen, Ellesse Andrews, Tess Young, Olivia Podmore and Tahlay Christie.
The women’s endurance competition will feature some strong competition, especially in the omnium which has attracted entries from junior world individual pursuit world champion Ally Wollaston, Jessie Hodges, McKenzie Milne, Nina Wollaston, Rushlee Buchanan and Emily Shearman among others.
The world championship-bound Bryony Botha, Kirstie James and Jaime Nielsen will focus on individual pursuit, Points race and Madison.
The under-19 competition will feature double world champion and recent criterium national champion, Laurence Pithie among many rising stars out of the National Performance Hub programme vying to selection to this year’s junior world championships.
The Championships begin on Thursday with morning sessions from 9am and afternoon sessions from 4pm, except on Sunday when the final session is from 2pm.
Adults are $5 entry for morning sessions and $10 for afternoon with children under 12 free in mornings and $5 in the afternoon.
The event is livestreamed for the afternoon sessions on Sky Sport NZ Next Youtube channel https://tinyurl.com/ur24rz2
CAPTION: Southland’s Corbin Strong celebrates winning the Points race title in 2019. (Dianne Manson Photo)