Waimate teen steps up to elite level

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 15/11/2012
Dylan Kennett
ROBYN EDIE/FAIRFAX NZ
LOOKING FORWARD: Dylan Kennett impressed on debut.

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Talented young Waimate cyclist Dylan Kennett will get a taste of what he needs to do to be successful at the elite level this weekend.

The 17-year-old will be the sole Kiwi on display when he debuts at the second round of the 2012-2013 UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Glasgow.

Kennett's first event will be tomorrow night's scratch race, followed by the individual pursuit on Saturday.

He won the silver medal at the Junior World Cycling Championships earlier this year in Invercargill, recording the fifth-fastest time in history.

That, however, was over 3000m and elite distance adds another 1000m to the journey.

Bike NZ is unlikely to expect immediate success because of his age but no doubt has Kennett in its plans for the Rio Olympics in 2016 and perhaps the 2014 Commonwealth Games, with several top track riders committed to the road.

He is being accompanied on this trip by two of this year's New Zealand Olympic coaches, Dayle Cheatley and Craig Palmer, who will no doubt also be gathering information for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The world cup will be the first major event at the new Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

Kennett is not fazed by stepping up to take on the world's best track cyclists, having grabbed three silvers at junior worlds including the impressive individual pursuit, where he clocked 3min 16.467sec to break the previous New Zealand junior record by 4sec.

Kennett said he would have to change his tactics as the distance moved up from 3000m to 4000m.

"I usually ride quite aggressively and then just hang on but I will need to be a bit more consistent. I would like to think I could ride around 4:24."

BikeNZ coach Dayle Cheatley said Kennett's selection was part of BikeNZ's commitment to give opportunities to up-and-coming riders.

Kennett's chances of being in the mix for the 2014 Commonwealth Games are also strong, if he continues his rapid rise, with a couple from the Olympic pursuit team concentrating on road contracts.

The 17-year-old's selection continues South Canterbury's amazing run of producing world-class cyclists.

Waimate's Heath Blackgrove rode at the Athens Olympics, while Shane Archbold rode his way to seventh in the omnium at London.

Timaru's Marc Ryan, one of Kennett's sporting heroes, was a double bronze medallist in the team pursuit at the Beijing and London Olympics.

In further good news for cycling, Waimate's Holly Edmondston was named in BikeNZ's under-19 junior development squad to participate in a programme which includes several camps and competitions.

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The focus will be on educating and assisting the riders in their development and being picked is a significant achievement. BikeNZ development manager Amy Taylor said the squad will allow riders a chance to gain the resources they need to improve their riding.

"If they want to go on to be future professionals or Olympic champions, they need to learn what it takes now and we will be assessing them on their attitude, ability to learn, and many other things."

- The Timaru Herald

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