Strong NZ BMX team for World Championships
New Zealand will send a strong team to the UCI BMX World Championship in Rotterdam next month.
World Championship medallist Marc Willers and Olympic silver medallist Sarah Walker head the elite team to contest the World Championship in Holland from July 23-27.
Willers, Kurt Pickard and Trent Jones fill the three elite men's places in the team, while Walker has the only elite women's spot.
Te Awamutu riders Todd Barry and Codi Merito are part of the junior men's team, alongside Christchurch rider Caleb Martin and Kapiti's Liam Perry, while Cambridge rider Hannah Sarten makes up the junior women's team.
The major selection headache came in the elite men's team, with five riders fighting out for only three sports.
BikeNZ national BMX coach Ryan Hollows said competition has been keen for places with the world championships limited to 112 male riders and 44 females, based on world ranking points.
"Our 2013 year was focussed on the need to develop our riders to be competitive on the world stage and that improvement has gained real momentum since we have moved to a centralised base in Cambridge," Hollows said.
"This year Trent Jones has made the semifinals in all three Supercross World Cups, Willers made the finals in Manchester and semis in Berlin and Pickard was in the semifinals in Manchester as well as winning in the USA.
"Matt Cameron and Daniel Franks have also qualified in Supercross races as well. As we move forward we are confident of earning more allocations next year but for this time, there's been massive competition for those places.''
Hollows said that while he is pleased with the improvement, the team believe they are in the form to make finals and podium at Worlds.
"That is going to be the aim for all riders at the world championships."
The elite men are currently training and racing in the United States.They will join Walker and Sarten in three weeks' time for 12 days of final preparation at the new BMX track at the UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, before moving on to Rotterdam.
The BikeNZ elite team:Men: Trent Jones (North Canterbury), Kurt Pickard (Tauranga), Marc Willers (Cambridge). Junior: Todd Barry (Te Awamutu), Caleb Martin (Christchurch), Codi Merito (Te Awamutu), Liam Perry (Kapiti).Women: Sarah Walker (Cambridge). Junior: Hannah Sarten (Cambridge).