Cycling Southland's New Year Carnival won't have any of the sport's big names on display but there will be no shortage of promising juniors involved.
The country's elite track riders are having a break after a busy World Cup season, and a development team is contesting the final round of the World up in Cali this weekend.
The ILT-sponsored carnival includes two nights of track cycling at the SIT Zerofees Velodrome, the Gore to Invercargill Classic tomorrow and criterium racing at the Ascot Park Hotel on Sunday.
The elite field for the track cycling will include rising stars Emma Cumming (Southland) and Olivia Podmore (Canterbury), as well as junior world championship medallist Josh Haggerty and Tour of Southland stage winner Matt Zenovich.
Riders from around the country will be involved over the weekend, with some tough racing in the shadow of the national elite and under-19 track championships in Cambridge at the end of this month.
The change to a Saturday morning start time for the 74km Gore to Invercargill race, one of the longest-running cycling events in the country, has coincided with an increase of numbers with at least 60 riders entered, more than 20 up on last year.
Otago's Brad Evans won't be back to defend his title, but runner-up Josh Haggerty will be hoping to improve on last year's placing after just getting edged on the line during the bunch sprint finish.
Riders from Central Otago, Otago and Christchurch have entered.
Racing in Sunday's criteriums starts with the juniors at 10am, with the open division one race starting at 12.30pm.
Meanwhile, Tom Sexton took out this week's edition of the Cycle Surgery Wednesday Worlds.
Sexton headed home an A grade field from Zenovich, Chris Denholm and Haggerty.
Kain Bowles won the B grade race from Brent Spencer and Hamish Keast.
Eddie Griffiths won the C grade race.
Photo and article courtesy The Southland Times