A 12-strong team has been selected to represent New Zealand at the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Germany, including Southlanders Emily Paterson and Conor Shearing.
The team, with six females and six males – all endurance riders – will contest the five-day championships on 14-18 August to be staged in Frankfurt an der Oder on the border of eastern Germany and Poland.
Five riders will return from the team that picked up gold and silver medals in the team pursuit last year in Switzerland.
Leading the way will be the women’s team pursuit which will be able to draw on three riders from the quartet that won the silver medal in Switzerland in Samantha Donnelly (Christchurch), McKenzie Milne (Hamilton) and Ally Wollaston (Cambridge).
Also back are Nelson’s Finn Fisher-Black, part of the gold medal winning team pursuit and current individual pursuit world record holder, and Taupo’s Kiaan Watts, who won his qualifying scratch race last year.
Many of the first timers have earned their selection on the back of some outstanding form in the 2019 Vantage Elite and U19 National Championships held in Cambridge in February.
Southland’s Emily Paterson and Christchurch’s Laurence Pithie won 13 medals between them, five of them gold, while Conor Shearing (Southland) won the time trial and keirin. The Hamilton pair of Eva Parkinson and Oliva King picked up four medals each; Keegan Hornblow (Nelson) medalled in the scratch race and individual pursuit, the latter behind teammates Fisher-Black and Pithie; and Lachlan Dickson (Auckland) won the silver behind Watts in the scratch race.
“Overall we have a strong group returning from last year who will be key leaders for the first-year juniors coming into this environment,” said Cycling New Zealand’s Graeme Hunn.
“Both team pursuits have the potential to be medal contenders and obviously with the likes Finn Fisher-Black as a current world record holder, and Ally Wollaston who won five titles at the recent national championships, we will have some outstanding individuals as well.”
Hunn said while the development of endurance riders is encouraging, more work has to go in to develop young sprinters.
“We just did not have sprinters up to the standard to be considered for selection but we will be taking sprinters to the Oceania Championships and working both with our Subway Performance Hub coaches and our national sprint coach to focus on bringing through more sprinters.
“It may also be that we look at other types of athletes to consider as potential track cycling sprinters.”
New Zealand has a strong pedigree of success at the junior world championships, winning 70 per cent of their 79 medals won since 1976 in the last nine years.
Cycling New Zealand’s Subway Performance Hub programme is a key part in the development of junior cyclists with 10 of the 12 riders selected for the world championships currently part of the Hub network either from the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Hub, Grassroots Trust Waikato BOP Hub, Upper South Hub or SIT Southern Hub network.
The team is:
Females: Samantha Donnelly (Christchurch), Olivia King (Hamilton), McKenzie Milne (Hamilton), Eva Parkinson (Hamilton), Emily Paterson (Invercargill), Ally Wollaston (Hamilton).
Males: Lachlan Dickson (Auckland), Finn Fisher-Black (Nelson), Keegan Hornblow (Nelson), Laurence Pithie (Christchurch), Conor Shearing (Invercargill), Kiaan Watts (Taupo).
Head Coach: Tim Carswell.
Caption: Conor Shearing and Emily Paterson with their Elite & U19 Track Nationals medal haul