With the Corporate Pursuit now confined to the memory banks, aside from a few lingering aches and pains, Cycling Southland is busy planning for its upcoming road and track racing seasons.
Last week’s Harrex Group-sponsored event was an outstanding success with record fields, record crowds and record times. The atmosphere created in the ILT Velodrome was superb and provides the benchmark for future events. Since taking up the role of Chief Executive I have been blown away by the potential which exists in our sport. We have a world-class facility and a world class spectator sport. Our key focus is providing the overall package which delivers a great experience for riders and spectators alike in this magnificent arena.
Cycling is a truly international sport. Its flagship event the Tour de France began its three week journey in Rotterdam yesterday and the break in the local season allows us to reflect on the number of southerners who are plying their trade in the saddle around the globe.
Our team farewelled Eddie Dawkins this week. The big fella flew out for the US on Thursday to start his pre-Commonwealth Games build-up in earnest and if the way he devoured his Indian lunch is anything to go by, he looks primed for Dehli.
Gabby Vermunt reports in regularly from Belgium with news of clear blue skies and frenetic racing over cobbled roads.
Mat Marshall is across the Tasman and this week completed a seventh place finish in the Tour of Toowoomba general classification, not a bad effort considering he admits to being some way of being fully race fit.
Junior Sportsperson of the Year Cam Karwowski is State-side enjoying life on his bike at one of world cycling’s most popular sites, Trexlertown, Pennsylvania. Riders the world over descend on the township every northern summer.
Cam’s form is nearly as hot as the 40 degree temperatures and it’s even better when the prize money is paid in greenbacks. On Wednesday (NZ time) he and Christchurch’s Chad Adair won three of the four track events they entered and he reports that out on the road you could ride the area for three months without having to follow the same stretch twice.
He’s joined in T-town by Southland team mate Hamish Presbury and a couple of transplanted Southlanders, Andy Hughson and James Canny who are all riding under the Team New Zealand Pro Cycling banner. They too defied jet-lag to compete with distinction in their debut effort on the track – Presbury’s fifth in one of the All Star Finals races a highlight.
There is no question that the impressive feats of New Zealand’s elite riders on the international stage can be traced directly to the ILT Velodrome. The fact that these and many more Southlanders are also now able to compete and win offshore is further evidence of the power of this community facility we call home.
And by the way, it’s not a bad place to turn up to work every morning.
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