Rising star Michaela Drummond wins national omnium title
Fittingly a rising teenage rider upset her more seasoned rivals, as the growth of young talent impressed at the age group track cycling national championships at Cambridge at the weekend.
The championships attracted nearly 300 riders competing in age group and masters competitions at the Avantidrome, while the elite riders contest the New Zealand omnium championships.
The elite women's title was won 18-year-old Manawatu rider Michaela Drummond, a member of Cycling New Zealand's high performance squad.
The junior world champion silver medallist in the omnium last year, Drummond was second in the scratch race, third in the tempo and then won the elimination and pivotal points race to claim the honours.
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"It's my first year elites so I wanted to sit back and be cautious," she said. "I felt good in the scratch race and after it I felt 'wow I'm not far behind these girls'.
"I am absolutely stoked. I am so happy with how I rode.
"I won my medal at junior worlds last year under the old omnium format and struggled with the timed races and did well in the bunch races so the new format really suits me. I love the new format … it is a lot more fun."
She won the under-19 title for the past two years and is signed with United States road cycling team Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling.
Southland prospect Corbin Strong won the under-19 men' s omnium title, cemented with second in the tempo and a win in the elimination, to finish on 139 points, well clear of Auckland's Aaron Wylie and Southland's Sam Miller.
Former Palmerston North rider Luke Mudgway was third in the men's omnium, just missing out on second on a countback to Regan Gough, with Dylan Kennett winning the national title.
Manawatu's Libby Arbuckle was second in the under-19 women's omnium, eight points behind Auckland's Georgia Danford.
Manawatu's Ben Irvine was third in the under-15 derby.
The West Coast North Island team of Michael Richmond, Ethan Craine, Kyle Hoskin and Angus Claasen was third in the under-17 team pursuit 3000m.
Palmerston North's John Stewart won the masters C2 scratch 7.5km race.
In the masters 750m team sprint race, the WCNI team of Richard Horn, Patrick Weinrauch and Grant Haggart were second, losing to the Auckland team of Russell Scott, Antony Brown and Cliff Parker, who set a New Zealand record in the gold medal ride.
"It was arguably the best age group national track competition that I've witnessed with the size of the entries and the quality of racing," Cycling New Zealand development manager Graeme Hunn said.
"The depth of talent is excellent with three heats of under-17 riders in the scratch race just fighting to make a final and a significant increase in both the quality and quantity of female riders.
"The most impressive aspect is that the riders are showing more skill and tactical awareness."
Hunn said the development of the regional performance hubs is a catalyst for this development, and he expects a number of riders on show this week to push for inclusion in the junior world championship team next year and pressure for places in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and beyond.