Cycling New Zealand has named a 13-strong team to contest the UCI Junior World Track Championships in China.
Five riders return from the successful 2016 campaign where New Zealand was the leading nation with nine medals including four gold. They will be joined by some exciting new talent in the team to compete in Shenyang on 23-27 August.
Most of the team are in action at the Vantage Age Group Track National Championships at the Avantidrome in Cambridge starting on Wednesday.
There are more than 200 riders competing in the five-day event with under-15 and under-17 riders competing along with Masters competitors. The event also comprises the under-19 and elite omnium championships on Saturday and Sunday that feature Olympic riders among those chasing spots in the New Zealand team for April’s world championships in Hong Kong.
Three of the last year’s gold medal-winning women’s junior team pursuit will return to the team for China this year in Emily Shearman (Palmerston North), Nicole Shields (Clyde) and Kate Smith (Christchurch). They are joined by double sprint medallist Ellesse Andrews (Cambridge) who moves to the endurance programme along with newcomer Libby Arbuckle (Palmerston North).
Christchurch’s Josh Scott returns from the world record-setting men’s team pursuit and joined by an exciting new squad of Corbin Strong (Invercargill), Matthew Trenchard (Christchurch), Harry Waine and Aaron Wyllie (both Auckland).
First-year under-19 sprinters Thomas Garbett (Levin) and Shaane Fulton (Nelson) will be joined by Cambridge rider Jackson Ogle who set records in the sprint and 1000m time trial at the recent national championships.
“We are very excited to work with the talent that we have selected for the Junior World Track Cycling Championship,” said head coach Jon Andrews.
“We have a sound development programme for the junior track team and a clear philosophy which we are working to.
“Our focus is on developing the skill and knowledge of our junior rider. We want to provide them with opportunities that allow them to grow as people and athletes. We want to encourage them to have fun and develop a real passion for what they are doing to keep them in the sport for the long term and hopefully for bigger and better competitions.
“We believe this philosophy is one of the reasons why the New Zealand junior track programme has been so successful in recent years.”
Immediate focus turns to the Vantage Age Group Track National Championships, with a number of riders back to defend titles won last year at Invercargill while a number of riders are also using the event to prepare for next month’s World Masters Games.
They include multi-world champion Erin Criglington, London Paralympics medallist Fiona Southorn and triple Olympian and double Commonwealth Games gold medallist Graeme Miller.
Rio Olympians Piet Bulling, Dylan Kennett, Lauren Ellis, Rushlee Buchannan, Jaime Nielsen and Racquel Sheath will all compete in the omnium championships at the weekend.
The New Zealand Junior team for the world championships is:
Female, Endurance: Ellesse Andrews (Cambridge), Libby Arbuckle (Palmerston North), Emily Shearman (Palmerston North), Nicole Shields (Clyde) and Kate Smith (Christchurch).
Sprint: Shaane Fulton (Nelson).
Male, Endurance: Josh Scott (Christchurch), Corbin Strong (Invercargill), Matthew Trenchard (Christchurch), Harry Waine (Auckland), Aaron Wyllie (Auckland). Sprint: Thomas Garbett (Levin), Jackson Ogle (Cambridge)
CAPTION: Multi-Masters World champion Erin Criglington (Southland) and last year’s young star Corbin Strong (inside) will compete in the Vantage Age Group Track National Championships at the Avantidrome in Cambridge from Wednesday.
Photo Dianne Manson