Southland's fast-rising stars of the track Laura Heywood, Nick Kergozou and Mike Culling have been named among a full New Zealand complement of 14 riders who will be heading to this year’s UCI junior track cycling world championships in Korea.
It is the first time for many years that a full team has been named, which is a reflection on the quality of the under-19 talent on show at the recent national championships in Cambridge.
BikeNZ High Performance Director Mark Elliott said that he is impressed with the depth coming through the programme.
“We were really impressed with some of the young talent on display,” Elliott said. “The exciting thing is that we are just starting to comprehend what our centralised programme at the Avantidrome will offer us on and off the track.
“There is some outstanding talent in this group, as well as a number of riders who pushed hard for selection in behind this team.
“There are a number here with clear medal potential is most disciplines that we will contest in Korea.”
There is only one rider back from last year in brilliant Hawkes Bay talent, Regan Gough (Waipukurau), who was part of the silver medal winning team pursuit and was fifth in the omnium at Glasgow last year. He dominated the individual pursuit in a world class 3min 18sec and the points race at the national championships two weeks ago.
He will be joined in the endurance group by scratch race national champion Luke Mudgway, also formerly from Waipukurau but now living in Palmerston North. Joining them is Timaru’s Jack Ford, who won three medals at the nationals, and Southland’s Nick Kergozou, who won the time trial and is being transitioned from the sprint ranks.
The women’s endurance squad comprises Aucklanders Holly White, the Oceania pursuit champion, and Nina Wollaston, the points champion, impressive North Harbour 16 year old Bryony Botha, who won the national pursuit honours, Waimate’s Holly Edmondston and Southland’s Laura Heywood, who won four medals between them.
The women’s sprint group is head by brilliant Christchurch prospect Olivia Podmore, who won five titles at the nationals, and Palmerston North’s Kate Stewart who was second to Podmore in the time trial and team sprint.
The men’s sprint trio comprises sprint and time trial champion Michael Culling (Invercargill), keirin and team sprint national winner Jordan Castle (Palmerston North) and Taupo’s Lewis Eccles who won the 250m time trial honours.
The team will prepare at Cambridge under head coach Ross Machejefski.
BikeNZ will also name an under-19 team next week to compete in the Oceania Championships to be held in Australia in October.
The team for the UCI Juniors World Track Championships from 8-12 August in Seoul is:
Men: Regan Gough (Waipukurau), Luke Mudgway (Palmerston North), Jack Ford (Timaru), Nick Kergozou (Invercargill), Lewis Eccles (Taupo), Michael Culling (Invercargill), Jordan Castle (Palmerston North).
Women: Laura Heywood (Invercargill), Bryony Botha (North Harbour), Holly Edmondston (Waimate), Holly White (Auckland), Nina Wollaston (Auckland), Olivia Podmore (Christchurch), Kate Stewart (Palmerston North).
Head coach: Ross Machejefski