From the track in Cali to the roads of Southland, Cameron Karwowski is putting a promising international track season on hold to join the PowerNet team in the Tour of Southland.
The 21-old Southland-based rider has had a successful road season in Europe with team Marco Polo, and has just recently represented New Zealand at the UCI World Cup track meet in Cali, Colombia.
While he has his eyes on retaining that representative spot to contest World Cup track meets in Mexico and then the world championships in Belarus, his focus for now is firmly on the Southland tour.
"Being locally based, I have always enjoyed racing in the PowerNet Tour of Southland and last year was an amazing experience with the team. This year with Heath (Blackgrove), and the great progress riders within the PowerNet team have made, we'll have multiple strategies in order to have a successful tour," he said.
"I enjoy the frenzy of the tour week, getting completely absorbed in the race - nothing else matters during that week."
Karwowski will be joined on a strong team by former Tour of Southland winner Heath Blackgrove, Olympian Shane Archbold, Myron Simpson, Ryan Wills and Tom Scully.
PowerNet won the company-sponsored Tour of Southland last year with Josh Atkins. While Atkins won't be back to defend that title, team manager Aaron Sinclair said the team were looking to ensure the yellow jersey stayed within the PowerNet stable.
Blackgrove will bring both form and experience to the team, after a successful season racing professionally in America with Elbowz Racing.
His latest win in the United States was at the Texas road race championships and it is that form he wants to carry throughout the tour while being well supported by his team-mates.
Sinclair said his team were more than capable of claiming the yellow jersey for the second consecutive year and they did not lack motivation, with this year being PowerNet's last as the tour's major sponsor.
"We're racing to win and we're going to be more than competitive," he said.
"We've got four of six riders back from last year; all coming off some great seasons and totally focused on the GC [general classification] win. We're really excited about it. Being PowerNet's last year as the major sponsor of the tour - after 12 years as proud sponsors - another win would be a fantastic way to go out."
Archbold's year has been well documented, with the Timaru rider placing seventh in the omnium at the London Olympics. While the 23-year-old said getting back on the bike after the intensity of the Olympic Games was tough, he admitted he could not wait for the tour to start.
"I didn't get back on my bike because I had to, I got back on because the weather was nice and I wanted to," he said.
"I didn't have anyone telling me what I had to do, it was my own choice and now I'm doing the PowerNet Tour of Southland and really looking forward to it."
Scully has had a great year on the bike highlighted by a podium finish in the under 23 Paris-Roubaix and earning a stagiare contract with professional team Garmin Sharp.
Simpson had a slow start to the year, after breaking his collarbone, but has recovered well to race in Europe for the BikeNZ team, and Wills has been racing in the US alongside Blackgrove with positive results.
- © Fairfax NZ News