Date: Thursday, 15 June 2017

Southland's cycling brothers Hayden and Corbin Strong are going places.

The Invercargill duo are leaving behind home comforts to chase their cycling dreams overseas in the coming months.

Hayden,19, has been offered a four-year scholarship at the Marian University in Indianapolis and will head to the US in August.

"For the last eight months I have been having talks with universities in the US and trying to land a cycling scholarship, in the last month I kind of nailed down a university that I wanted to go to in Indianapolis, so that university starts on the August 17," he said.

"It is the top cycling university in the US, so they have got a good cycling team and I will be able to study while still riding my bike and chasing my goals in cycling, while studying."

"It is kind of the best opportunity for me, where you don't have those options in New Zealand while studying."

Strong originally gained interest from US colleges following some eye-catching performances in the 2016 Tour de l'Abitibi, where he finished 23rd in the general classification and runner-up in the King of the Mountains section.

"When I went to Canada last year, that is where I got my name out and started getting contacted by a few universities in the US, they obviously look at the results of big junior races like the one I went to in Canada," he said.

"They look at results for potential students, a university contacted me last year which is what gave me the idea."

Strong will join the Marian University Knights, who have achieved some excellent results in recent seasons, winning the last 10 Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference road titles since 2008, which makes the university an ideal place for him to develop as a rider.

"I think have about 15 to 20 race weekends in the year on the road, they call it the Collegiate Series, which they have different divisions throughout the state and most weekends you will be racing for your university in your division and then they have the Collegiate Road Nationals where all the universities come together," he said.

"I haven't looked too much into the cycling team, but I know a girl that was on the cycling team a couple of years ago, just won one of the biggest one day bike races in the world for elite women, so the cycling programme is pretty good."

"So it is a good place to be in terms of getting noticed and everything in the US, because there are so many races and big teams that are based over there."

Corbin Strong, 17, will also be clocking up plenty of air miles in the coming months.
He has been preparing for the Junior World Track Cycling Championships in Italy in August by riding in Australia and will return across the Tasman next month to ride in the International Track Cycling Series in Melbourne.

His recent form has been excellent on the road, picking up a stage win in the Mersey Valley under-19 tour in Tasmania.

The Southland Boys' High School student picked up stage two as a guest rider for Team Skoda Racing as part of an impressive showing, in the race, which also included Southlander Samuel Miller.

Photo and article courtesy Stuff

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