New Zealand's emerging track cyclists will get a chance on the international stage later this year when the BikeNZ under-19 team travels to Australia for the 2013 Oceania Track Championships.
Four Invercargill riders have been named in the team of 18 to compete at the Adelaide velodrome in November. They are Jeremy Presbury, Josh Haggerty, Michael Culling (Invercargill) and Laura Heywood. The southern numbers are rounded out by Central Otago's Liam Aitcheson (Central Otago)
New Zealand junior track cycling coach Ross Machejefski said the championships would have a distinct development focus.
“The main purpose of the Oceania Track Championships is to build up to the Junior Track World Championships next year and the year after,” Machejefski said.
“Whilst it’s a competition and we want to win, it’s more about establishing combinations and giving the younger riders some international experience.”
For several of the riders selected, this will be their first chance to impress against international opposition, having recently graduated from the under-17 division.
“If you look back through our Olympians, this event was probably the first international outing for a lot of them, so making this team is certainly a step in the right direction for these riders,” Machejefski said.
Whilst there is no lack of quality within the entire 18-strong travelling squad, Machejefski is particularly excited about the amazing depth coming through the men’s sprint ranks.
“Taking five male sprinters to an event like this is a huge team, but they’re all just so good we couldn’t leave anyone out,” he said.
“When the Adelaide velodrome is hot, it is one of the fastest tracks in the world, so the idea of these lightning quick riders in that environment is very exciting.”
The Oceania Track Championships is hosted on alternate years by Adelaide and Invercargill, and despite officially including the entire region, is largely a two-horse race.
“It’s basically Australia versus New Zealand with a few New Caledonians thrown into the mix, but as Kiwis, what better nation to test yourselves against than Aussie?” said Machejefski.
The team will gather in Invercargill for a 3-day training camp in October, before heading across the Tasman for the main event, to be held from November 28 – December 2 in Adelaide.
Junior Men’s Sprint
Zac Williams (Auckland)
Jeremy Presbury (Invercargill)
Chad Elliston (Auckland)
Callum Saunders (Blenheim)
Quinn Karwowski (Blenheim)
Junior Men’s Endurance
Liam Aitcheson (Central Otago)
Luke Wieblitz (Christchurch)
Josh Haggerty (Invercargill)
Connor Stead (Christchurch)
Michael Culling (Invercargill)
Regan Gough (Waipawa)
Cameron Ford (Tasman)
Alex Hooper (Ashburton) – reserve
Junior Women’s Endurance
Jennifer Muhl (Invercargill)
Lauren Hobson (Auckland)
Alice Hay (Christchurch)
Holly Edmondston (Waimate)
Laura Heywood (Invercargill)
Kate Stewart (Manawatu)
- The Southland Times