Junior cyclists on right track for World Champs
The BikeNZ junior world championship team is building well towards the August event in Glasgow.
New Zealand's nine-strong team, coaching by John Rastrick and Ross Machejefski, recently completed a camp at the Stadium Southland velodrome and showed impressive development, Machejefski said.
"The sprint boys were producing times in tema and individual efforts that replicated the final camp just before junior worlds last year and this time we are still eight weeks out, which is extremely encouraging," he said.
"The focus for the endurance group this year is the team pursuit, again so far out the combination looks slick and times have improved rapidly since the first camp in April, with the same progression expected in Belgium in July. It's exciting for both the teams pursuit and the individual events."
New Zealand equalled its biggest medal haul when Invercargill hosted the world championships last year, but were unable to pick up a world title amongst the 10 gongs won.
Central Otago rider Liam Aitcheson, a silver medallist in the team pursuit in 2012, is one of three riders returning from last year, along with Invercargill's Jeremy Presbury and fellow sprinter Zac Williams (Auckland).
Presbury was fourth in the keirin final and was part of the team sprint with Williams that also finished fourth at the Stadium Southland velodrome.
The New Zealand team will spend three weeks together in Belgium, training at the Ghent and Roubaix velodromes, from July 11 before arriving in Glasgow in early August.
"The endurance boys will also get the chance to compete in some local road races called kermisses in this early phase in Belgium," Machejefski, who was recently named Southland coach of the year for his work with the BikeNZ junior programme last year, said.
The junior world championships, being staged at the new Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, run from August 7 to 11.
BikeNZ junior world championship team:
Men's endurance - Regan Gough (Central Hawkes Bay), Alex Hooper (Ashburton), Connor Stead (Christchurch), Josh Haggerty (Invercargill), Liam Aitcheson (Alexandra).
Men's sprint - Jeremy Presbury (Invercargill), Zac Williams (Auckland), Quinn Karwowski (Blenheim), Callum Saunders (Blenheim).
The Southland Times