Youngsters get their chance
BikeNZ will look to youth in its bid for Olympic success in the 2016 Rio Games.
It has named six young riders, including former Marlborough rider Cameron Karwowski, to join several Olympic incumbents in a five-month European based training and racing programme to develop a men's endurance track team for the world championships and Commonwealth Games next year and on to the Rio Olympics.
BikeNZ has bypassed taking a team pursuit to next month's world championships in Belarus in favour of the European campaign which will be based in Oudenaarde in Belgium.
It has taken under-23 squads for road training to Belgium for the last three years but this year it has a different focus.
"We are a track squad who will be undergoing specific track development training and racing which will include some road training and racing to support this," said BikeNZ head coach Dayle Cheatley.
"The programme is aimed at track outcomes and we will be using this time to develop this group in their physical development, track skills as well as looking for combinations and a team culture."
BikeNZ will move to a base previously used by the Australian Drapac Porsche Continental team.
The six young riders selected, with an average age of 19, comprise Pieter Bulling and Karwowski (both Invercargill), Hamish Schreurs and Michael Vink (both Christchurch), Dylan Kennett (Waimate) and Hayden McCormick (Te Awamutu).
"Some of them have been to Europe with our previous under-23 squads or come through out under-19 programme and have exciting futures."
They will link up with Olympic incumbents Westley Gough, Marc Ryan, Shane Archbold and Aaron Gate who will be racing for teams in Europe.
"This year is the ideal time in the post-Olympic year for this technical development work which will form a critical part of our pathway."
BikeNZ is still awaiting qualification procedures for Rio but advice from UCI is that it is likely to new require a new process of qualifying track events in Europe to advance to World Cups which will be mandatory for qualification for the world championships and the Rio Olympics.
The group will head Europe in early April and return in late august for the Oceania Championships, subject to the UCI qualifying process.
AT A GLANCE
The squad for Europe is: Pieter Bulling (Invercargill) 19, Cameron Karwowski (Invercargill) 21, Dylan Kennett (Waimate) 18, Hayden McCormick (Te Awamutu) 19, Hamish Schreurs (Christchurch) 19, Michael Vink (Christchurch) 21. BikeNZ incumbents: Marc Ryan (Timaru), Shane Archbold (Timaru), Westley Gough (Hastings), Aaron Gate (Auckland).
The Marlborough Express