Cycling Southland's Sophie Williamson and Canterbury's Dylan Kennett impressed with podium finishes in their first race on their American buildup to August's UCI Juniors Track World Championships.
The New Zealand junior track endurance cycling team officially began its overseas buildup on Monday in the searing heat of Wisconsin in the first of a five-race haul in the state in preparation for the world championships, which will be held at Invercargill's velodrome in August.
Kennett and Williamson each crossed the line in third place in their respective races at the Dairyland Waukesha Criterium.
Coach Ross Machejefski said the contingent of six riders rode beyond expectation, in just their first race of the middle-American leg of their United States tour.
"For a first race, I thought the team rode really well. They did just as they were instructed to by the coaches," he said.
"Our aim was to be up the front and in a strong position at the end of the race. Some had a great day, and some would have definitely learned from the experience for the next one."
The six-corner criterium was a reasonably flat 1.4km circuit around the dense urban areas of Waukesha.
After riding such a technical course in draining heat, the team backed up in the Greenbush Road Race in Sheboygan County, yesterday.
Williamson's class again shone through as she finished fourth in the professional women's field, while Canterbury's Hamish Schreurs and Tayla Harrison finished fifth and sixth from a breakaway of 11 riders in the pro men's race, which was won by former pro-tour rider Frank Pipp.
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