Ryan to lead 'green' NZ team in Manchester
There are mixed expectations for the BikeNZ men's track programme during the opening round of the World Cup series starting in Manchester today.
While New Zealand will field an experienced squad of sprinters, the men's endurance squad has a green look about it with the departure of several riders following the London Olympics and a scheduling clash which has ruled out Olympian Aaron Gate.
Dayle Cheatley, BikeNZ head track coach, said the team pursuit squad would be finding their feet in Manchester.
"With the men's endurance squad, it's basically a new teams pursuit lineup [that's] never raced together before, so that's the inexperiencedgroup, however we do have Marc Ryan, our most experienced teams pursuiter, leading those three younger guys."
Double Olympic medallist Ryan, 31, will be joined by Shane Archbold, 19-year-old Dylan Kennett and 20-year-old Pieter Bulling in the pursuit lineup, with Gate competing in the omnium, the event he won at this year's world championship.
"Our goal is to put a time on the board, which I believe will be a good solid time, but at the same time one that we can build on throughout the series. If we lay down a time and it is good for a place, then that is a bonus," Cheatley said.
"What we learn out of this campaign is one of our main objectives. It will be the first time they have ridden together in competition."
The first day of competition features both team pursuit and team sprint, along with the first day of the omnium, before riders move into individual events, which will also be important.
"The big goal is the world championships, but first you have to get there, so we are looking for solid performances in those individual events to gain important ranking points to qualify for the world championships."
Cheatley is looking for organisers to lift the temperature in the Manchester Velodrome, which is the base for Great Britain Cycling, and is then expecting fast times.
- © Fairfax NZ News