The world champion men’s team pursuit will headline a strong New Zealand team to contest next week’s UCI Track World Cup on home turf in Cambridge.
Cycling New Zealand selectors have opted for a powerful and proven line-up with 21 riders to compete in the three-day competition, to be held for the first time in this country, starting at the Avantidrome next Friday 4 Decmeber.
The men’s team pursuit, who won the world title in Paris earlier this year, includes the rainbow jersey trio of Piet Bulling, Alex Frame and Regan Gough with the endurance squad completed with outstanding young starter Nick Kergozou, former junior world champion Cam Karwowski and the return of double 2008 Olympic medallist Hayden Roulston.
He comes in for an injured Marc Ryan with Karwowski likely to contest the six-discipline omnium with 2013 world champion Aaron Gate spelled after a heavy racing schedule, as he builds towards next year’s world championships.
The team includes 2014 world champion team sprinters Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins, the experienced women’s team pursuit quartet along with the top sprint pairing Natasha Hansen and Katie Schofield.
Olympic medallist Simon van Velthooven and world championship medallist Matt Archibald are included in a four-strong sprint group under the Trade Team banner of High Performance Sport New Zealand.
“It is a great opportunity to race against the best in the world here at home,” said Cycling New Zealand Head Coach Dayle Cheatley.
“It is fantastic to be able to showcase our sport in front of our friends, family, cycling fans and local Waikato people, many of whom may be watching track cycling for the first time.
“It is an important event for us in terms of scoring valuable qualifying points. But importantly this World Cup is a stepping stone towards the World Championships next March and of course the main goal is the Rio Olympics in 10 months time.
“I am sure the team are well motivated to ride well with the support of a home crowd while we’ve also been aware of the extra pressures associated with competing in an event of this magnitude in New Zealand.
“We’ve tried to re-create all the usual protocols as we would if we were competing overseas.”
Cheatley said the endurance riders have had the benefit of a solid training block after most bypassed the Cali World Cup, with the squad welcoming Roulston back to top level competition.
“Hayden has been working really hard with endurance coach Tim Carswell as he makes a big transition back to the track after six years of competing at the highest level in road racing, and he gets a bit of a litmus test on his progress next week.”
The women’s endurance group, headed by the Glasgow quartet of Rushlee Buchannan, Jaime Nielsen, Georgia Williams and Lauren Ellis have been re-united after racing for their various professional road teams in Europe and USA, and now under new coach Brendon Cameron.
Young riders Holly Edmondston from Waimate and Alysha Keith from Dunedin get a further opportunity after competing in Cali.
The men’s team sprint trio of Mitchell, Webster and Dawkins will be keen to get their ducks in a row after an indifferent World Cup start in Cali, while national record holders Hansen and Schofield are united in the women’s sprint.
Cycling New Zealand has taken the opportunity at home to involve experienced sprinters Simon van Velthooven and Matt Archibald along with key development riders Zac Williams and Jeremy Presbury in the HPSNZ trade team colours to contest the team sprint and keirin competition.
The New Zealand team is:
Men’s Endurance: Piet Bulling (Invercargill), Alex Frame (Christchurch), Regan Gough (Waipukurau), Cameron Karwowski (Invercargill), Nick Kergozou (Invercargill), Hayden Roulston (Christchurch).
Women’s endurance: Rushlee Buchanan (Te Awamutu), Lauren Ellis (Hinds), Holly Edmondston (Waimate), Alysha Keith (Dunedin), Jaime Nielsen (Cambridge), Georgia Williams (Auckland).
Men’s sprint: Eddie Dawkins (Invercargill), Ethan Mitchell (Auckland), Sam Webster (Auckland).
Women’s sprint: Natasha Hansen (Invercargill), Katie Schofield (Dunedin).
HPSNZ: Matt Archibald (Invercargill), Jeremy Presbury (Invercargill), Simon van Velthooven (Feilding), Zac Williams (Auckland).
Coaches: Dayle Cheatley (Head Coach), Brendon Cameron (women’s endurance), Tim Carswell (men’s endurance), Anthony Peden (Sprint).
CAPTION: Men’s team pursuit in action. (Credit: Guy Swarbrick)