Helena Rikiti continued her buildup to the Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Adelaide when winning the Gore to Waikiwi race on Saturday.
The Southland Girls' High School student was one of 38 starters in the 78-kilometre handicap race, which has been held annually for more than 50 years.
"I felt good the whole ride ... I was hoping for a good result," Helena, 17, said.
She will be joined in the New Zealand under 19 team heading to Adelaide in October by fellow Southlanders Emily Paterson, who finished second on Saturday, Tyla Green and Conor Shearing.
In her fourth year as a competitive cyclist, Helena became interested in the sport during her time riding in triathlons. She prefers road racing.
Cycling Southland's events manager Bruce Ross said the Gore to Waikiwi race was eagerly contested, with the first two home - Helena and Emily - being rising stars in the junior ranks.
"They both go well on track and road," Bruce said.
Matt Zenovich, who began off scratch (28 minutes after the first group of riders started), clocked the fastest time of 1min 53min 21sec on Saturday.
Road race results for Junior U13 Grove Bush to Waikiwi and U15/U17 Spring Hills to Waikiwi Handicap.
U15 & U17 Springhills-Waikiwi Winners:
1 - Rhylee Akeroyd
2 - Jaz McLeod
3 - Jess Spencer
4 - Conrad Clark
Fastest Time - Mitchel Fitzsimons
U13 Grove Bush-Waikiwi Winners:
1 - Caitlin Kelly
2 - Magnus Jamieson
3 - Jack McLeod
Fastest Time - Magnus Jamieson
Meanwhile, Zenovich will be busy in the next 10 weeks as he leaves on Monday for events in Asia followed by the Tour of Southland.
Among early entries for the tour are German, Dutch and African teams who are competing for the first time. Two Australian teams are also entered for the famous race on October 28 to November 3.
Meanwhile, the main award winners at the Cycling Southland prize giving on Friday night were: Elite Rider of the Year - Natasha Hansen (track), Tom Scully (road); Senior Rider of the Year - Erin Criglington (track), Matt Zenovich (road); Junior Rider of the Year - Corbin Strong; Most Improved Rider of the Year - Nicole Marshall; Under 17 Rider of the Year - Mitchel Fitzsimons; Under 15 Rider of the Year - Ronan Shearing; Under 13 Rider of the Year - Magnus Jamieson; Best Performance Award - Eddie Dawkins (three medals at Commonwealth Games).
Article and photo courtesy Stuff