Southland cyclists impress at Age Group Track National Championships despite losing the Points Shield to Waikato-BOP
Waikato-Bay of Plenty halted Southland's reign on the AACA National Points Shield for provincial track cycling dominance at the NZ Age Group Track National Championships.
Southland sat behind Waikato-BOP by one just point after the NZ Track National Championships, but were unable to overturn the difference and claim their 10th title in-a-row.
It was always going to be a tall order for the southerners, with 35 competitors at the Cambridge event, compared with 81 riders representing the Waikato-BOP team on their home track.
Cycling Southland general manager Mark Hotton said there was an air of inevitability around the loss of the points shield.
"We've had a massive advantage over the past nine years in having a covered velodrome and really it was only a matter of time before Waikato-BOP caught up after they got a new velodrome just over two years ago," he said.
"They have a significantly larger catchment area with a far greater population base and were able to field a far bigger team across all the age groups, which is something we weren't able to do because of the obvious costs in getting to the event."
"But we host both the elite and Age Group track champs next year, so it will be interesting to see how many riders they're able to send down. Our riders will be keen to get it returned."
World Championship masters gold medallist Erin Criglinton led the charge for Southland in the women's masters 45-49 age group.
She secured five gold medals as Southland picked up plenty of podium finishes in the women's masters categories.
Criglington won the team sprint with Leanne Dalley ahead of Southland team-mates Nicola Stevens and Tienke Venter, along with claiming the time trial, individual pursuit, keirin and scratch race.
Kylea Gough and Dalley claimed a Southland quinella in the women's MW1 keirin, as the duo, along with Stevens and Venter all won multiple medals each at the meet.
There were other encouraging performances by the Southland junior riders.
Corbin Strong claimed the under-19 men's omnium over the last two days of competition with Sam Miller third, while Rhylee Akeroyd won a gold medal and four silver medals in the under-15 section and Emily Paterson claimed multiple medals in the under-17 section.