Date: Tuesday, 16 February 2016

It is all a bit hazy for Nick Kergozou at the moment as he reflects on just where he is at in his cycling career.

On Monday the 19-year-old Southlander was named in the New Zealand Track Cycling team to attend next month's World Championships in London.

The messages flooded in following the team naming and it all hit home for Kergozou in regartds to just how far the former Southland Boys' High School student had come in such a short space of time.

"I am just so happy at the moment, getting all that support from down in Invercargill is great."

 "Just having all my mates and people sending me messages it has started to hit home. But I think it is not until I get there that it will really hit home as well."

"Looking back at last year they have been pretty big steps I have taken so I am trying to take it all in my stride."

He joins fellow Southlander Piet Bulling as cyclists in contention for the men's team pursuit.

Kergozou and fellow young rider Luke Mudgway got the nod ahead of veteran cyclist Hayden Roulston after impressing in training in the endurance squad.

Cycling New Zealand high performance director Mark Elliott said they were provided with some difficult decisions.

"There's always difficult choices especially when you've got the quality in the men's pursuit squad in particular," he said.

"We've got 10 guys training here and wanting to narrow that down to six or seven, someone was always going to miss out.

"For [Roulston], he's come up here with the reason to try and force his way in, and he's done everything to put himself into that position, but we've got a number of other guys who are just going better.

"They haven't plateaued, they've just kept on going and for Hayden, he was behind a little bit and he's just stayed that same distance. He's made gains, but not quite enough."

Simon van Velthooven was another notable omission with Southland's Matt Archibald having the edge in key events right now, and is able to line-up in all three positions in the team sprint.

But Elliott insisted that both Roulston and van Velthooven were well within the Olympic mix, with only small gains needed to edge them in front of their competition in coming months.

Kergozou was well aware the heat was still on as he tries to book a ticket to the Olympics in Rio this year.

"The competitive environment is making us all strive to perform and we all feed off that," Kergozou said.

The women's sprint team also proved a tough one to pick, with Katie Schofield edged by 18-year-old Cantabrian Olivia Podmore for the world championships.

Podmore has been the standout female rider in New Zealand throughout her junior years, and secured her first elite medal at the track nationals last week.

New Zealand track cycling squad:

Piet Bulling, Alex Frame, Aaron Gate, Dylan Kennett, Nick Kergozou, Luke Mudgway, Marc Ryan, Matt Archibald, Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins, Rushlee Buchanan, Lauren Ellis, Jaime Nielsen, Racquel Sheath, Georgia Williams, Natasha Hansen, Olivia Podmore.

Article courtesy Stuff


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