Two young Manawatu cyclists are looking to set themselves up for later in their careers with a good showing at the Australian under-19 national road championships this weekend.
The Palmerston North pair of Nate Levin and Joel Yates are in the New Zealand under-19 team racing at Canberra, starting tomorrow, where the team will ride a 117km road race, 22km road race and a criterium.
Both Palmerston North Boys' High School students, who have another year riding at under-19 level, were hoping to ride professionally one day.
Levin, 16, is a climber and is not entering the time trial so he can focus all his efforts into the road race and criterium.
"Strong results here prove you have the potential to go to worlds next year," he said.
The best young Australia riders will be competing and it should be a stronger field than what they normally get in New Zealand.
"It's a good thing to have on a CV, especially if you place well."
He finished fourth at the Central Hawke's Bay junior tour and at the Te Awamutu tour and finished 10th at club nationals at Cambridge after being in the breakaway going into the last 2km.
Levin used to be a runner and a cricket player, but slipped a disc in his back playing cricket and "coudn't do either of those without a huge amount of pain".
He put the bat, pad and running shoes away and has been cycling seriously for 18 months now..
Levin may be heading to New Caledonia to ride later in the year.
Yates' specialty is time trials, although he said he wasn't bad at climbing.
This year he finished seventh overall at the Te Awamutu tour, as well as sixth in the time trial, and was 10th in the time trial at nationals, so his form he has high hopes for this weekend.
"I'm pretty confident, I guess, with my training at the moment," he said. "I'm hoping for just a top-10 finish [overall] and pushing for a to- five placing in the time trial."
He said this weekend was a good opportunity for being contracted by an Australian team
The 16-year-old has been cycling seriously for a year and his coached by his dad Lee, who is an Ironman athlete.
Later in the year, Yates and Levin will race in a new North Island series, consisting of five series, starting in September.
- Manawatu Standard
Will Aaron Cruden's omission hurt or help the All Blacks?Related story: Senior All Blacks 'pretty disappointed' in Cruden