Youngster well on track for next year
James Hargest College's Jeremy Presbury has one eye on next year's junior world track championships.
Presbury ended last week's junior worlds in Invercargill with two fourth placings - in the team sprint and the keirin - and has plenty of motivation to force his way on to the podium in 12 months' time.
The 17-year-old was a real surprise package in the keirin on Sunday, racing his way through to the final and then narrowly missing out on the medals.
"I'm pretty happy with that, to be honest," Presbury said after the final.
"Of course everyone wants to come away from a championships with a medal but I'm a first-year so hopefully I've still got next year and hopefully I can bring home a few medals after that."
Presbury had no complaints about the keirin final.
"I was going 100 per cent effort, coming into three-quarters of a lap to go there was a Mexican rider who hit my wheel which sort of put me off a wee bit but I don't think I can blame not being on the podium for that. I'm still stoked with where I came."
Racing on his home track at a world championships had been a big occasion, for Presbury, who roomed with the rest of the team in Invercargill.
The BikeNZ squad was well-catered for by the staff at the Copper Kettle.
"It's cool because you've got friends and family in the crowd, everyone's yelling, there's just nothing like that," Presbury said.
While everyone got to see the glamorous side of the sport, there was a lot of hard work involved.
"It's pretty tough. I just turned 17 a couple of weeks ago so I've missed out on a bit of socialising and all that stuff but I love cycling, it's my life and I'm happy to do it," Presbury said.
"I definitely want to get back on my bike in a couple of weeks and start building up again, even though it's 12 months away."
There would appear to be a lot of improvement in Presbury yet as he looks to add to his slender frame, a physique which isn't the traditional sprinter's build.
"At first look no-one would know I'm a sprinter, perhaps wouldn't even think I'm an endurance rider, to be honest. Another year in the gym, another year of training and anything could happen."
BikeNZ high-performance junior track coach Ross Machejefski said Presbury had made huge strides in recent months.
"He'll go into his second year next year and fly the flag," Machejefski said.
"He's got a big future.
"He's only just got into the gym really recently. [Strength and conditioning coach] Simon Jones and Academy Southland have done an amazing job with him and Tom Beadle to help their development. It's a credit to Jonesey, he's really put in a lot very quickly and I can't wait to see what he can do next year."
Presbury's next major assignment will be the Oceania Games in Adelaide later this year, where he will look to add to the silverware James Hargest College can lay claim to this year, including the Olympic gold and bronze rowing medals won by former students Nathan Cohen and Storm Uru in London.
Southland Girls' High School's Kate Dunlevey finished sixth in the women's sprint after being knocked out of the reckoning at the quarterfinal stage by team-mate Paige Paterson.
She backed that up with a fourth in the keirin, a result which could have been a bronze medal if a protest against the riding of the United States rider had been upheld.
Dunstan High School's Liam Aitcheson claimed Cycling Southland's sole medal of the championships, taking silver with the men's pursuit team on the opening night of the event.
Another first-year rider who should be back in 12 months' time, Aitcheson also rode an outstanding ride in the men's points race on Saturday night.
He was leading at the halfway mark and eventually faded but still managed to finish equal fourth and delight the noisy, sold-out crowd at the Stadium Southland velodrome.
- © Fairfax NZ News