New Zealand track riders take their first pedal strokes of the international season at the Oceania Championship in Adelaide next month.
A 37-strong squad of elite and junior riders will contest the championships at the Adelaide Super-Drome on 10-13 October, which is the first major international event that provides ranking points for the World Championships and ultimately the Tokyo Olympics.
The continental championships comprise a full programme, and will kick-start the season.
Cycling New Zealand high performance director Martin Barras said it will provide a litmus test for the riders as they prepare for a busy summer.
“Some of our track riders have been training hard both here in Cambridge and in some cases overseas and are itching to finally get on the track to compete,” he said.
“Others have been riding for professional road teams in North America and Europe and just returning home. They will need to be managed more carefully as they get used to riding back on the boards again.
“This is an important summer ahead as we look to performances at the World Cups and World Championships including a World Cup competition here in Cambridge which the entire high-performance group are excited about. They do not get to race in front of their family and friends very often, so that will be a real highlight of the summer for them.”
There are some newcomers joining the proven experienced riders in the elite team for Adelaide, including former junior world championship medallists Emily Shearman (Palmerston North), Jessie Hodges (Hamilton), Kate Smith (Christchurch) and Nicole Shields (Clyde) in the females and Auckland’s Aaron Wylie in the males.
The sprint group is led by the world and commonwealth games champion men’s team pursuit trio of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins who will come up against a powerful Australian squad during the competition.
The team heads to Adelaide in two weeks with some of this team likely to be included into squads for the first two UCI Track World Cup competitions in France and Canada later next month.
The teams for the Oceania Championships are:
Endurance, Female: Michaela Drummond (Manawatu), Rushlee Buchanan (Waikato-Bay of Plenty), Emily Shearman (Manawatu), Jessie Hodges (Waikato-BOP), Kate Smith (Canterbury), Ellesse Andrews (Waikato-BOP), Nicole Shields (Southland).
Male: Campbell Stewart (Manawatu), Harry Waine (Auckland), Jared Gray (Waikato-BOP), Tom Sexton (Southland), Aaron Wyllie (Auckland).
Sprint, Male: Eddie Dawkins (Southland), Ethan Mitchell (Auckland), Sam Webster (Auckland), Bradly Knipe (Southland), Jordan Castle (Manawatu), Zac Williams (Auckland), Emma Cumming (Southland), Natasha Hansen (Southland), Olivia Podmore (Canterbury).
Junior, Female: Emily Paterson (Southland), Erin Downie (Canterbury), Eva Parkinson (Waikato Bay of Plenty), Mya Anderson (Waikato Bay of Plenty), Tyla Green (Southland), Helena Rikiti (Southland), Olivia King (Waikato Bay of Plenty).
Male: Griffyn Spencer (Canterbury), Laurence Pithie (Canterbury), Conor Shearing (Southland), Max Williams (Hawkes Bay), Reuben Webster (Waikato BOP), Angus Claasen (Manawatu), Patrick Clancy (Waikato Bay of Plenty), Sam Upton (Auckland), Cameron Manley (Auckland).
CAPTION: Protagonists from both sides of the Tasman are set to clash in the season-starter in Adelaide. (Credit: Dianne Manson)