Cyclist Dylan Kennett's star keeps rising

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2012
TOP TALENT: Waimate's Dylan Kennett, right,  and Hayden McCormick  on their way to winning the madison at the elite championships in Invercargill.
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
TOP TALENT: Waimate's Dylan Kennett, right, and Hayden McCormick on their way to winning the madison at the elite championships in Invercargill.

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Dylan Kennett's stocks in cycling continue to rise with his selection in the New Zealand under-19 team to the UCI Oceania road championships to be held in Queenstown in March.

The Waimate 17-year-old's selection comes off the back of a great performance at BikeNZ's elite track championships in Invercargill where he proved what a talent he is.

Kennett and Hayden McCormick, from Te Awamutu, beat a combination of New Zealand's best riders to win the madison.

The pair have been included in a squad of established talent and emerging riders for Queenstown which includes Hamish Schreurs, Tayla Harrison, Tom Vessy and Scott Ambrose.

In Invercargill, young guns Kennett and McCormick upstaged Beijing Olympians for a shock win in the spectacular 40km madison.

The pair rode a smart race to collect points early by winning the first three sprints before putting a lap on the field which sealed their win.

Oceania champions Jason Allen and Tom Scully collected the most points but had to settle for second as they could not make up the lap needed to propel them into the lead. Defending national champions Aaron Gate and Myron Simpson, and Beijing Olympians Sam Bewley and Marc Ryan, were active in the race but were outclassed by the junior pairing.

Kennett rated the madison win the biggest of his career, surpassing his two junior world championships' bronze medals in omnium and team pursuit because it was an elite event up against New Zealand's best riders.

"They were trying their hardest and we were just too good for them; it was a great feeling."

For McCormick and Kennett, it was only the second time they had ridden together but they know each other well, having been in national teams together.

Kennett, riding for Canterbury, and Otago's Alysha Keith also put their hands up for selection for August's junior world championships to be held at Invercargill after convincing wins in the under-19 omnium.

Kennett won all but the points race in the six-event series, to finish with a whopping 12-point margin over McCormick, with Christchurch's Schreurs third.

Keith was almost as dominant and never slipped below a second place in any of her six events, finishing nine points ahead of Cassie Cameron (Whanganui) and Auckland's Racquel Sheath.

Kennett said he preferred the track to the road, and his favourite event was the kilo.

`I do like the omnium as well as it takes in both the sprints and pursuit."

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Kennett's next assignment on the track is the age group national track champs later this month, with eight titles up for grabs, and where he had great success last year.

Kennett should be a shoo-in for the team to go to the world juniors and, judging by his performances, it cannot be long before he breaks into New Zealand's elite squad, joining the likes of Timaru's Ryan and Shane Archbold.

- South Canterbury

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