Three South Canterbury riders in NZ squad
Three South Canterbury riders have been named in the initial 12-strong squad for next month's UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Colombia.
The exact team is to be named once final quota places have been advised by the UCI, the sport's ruling body, with nine likely to head to South America.
The trio of Marc Ryan, Shane Archbold and Dylan Kennett are part of the seven endurance riders named along with five sprinters.
If 19-year-old Kennett makes the final cut it will be his first world championships at elite level.
His talent was uncovered when he won three silver medals at the UCI World Junior Championships in 2012.
Since then he has continued to work hard and been rewarded with rides at World Cup meetings.
Ryan, with three Olympics behind him, is the most experienced rider in the squad and is the elder statesman of the pursuit team at 31.
Archbold, 24, also is familiar with competing in major events and already has a world championship medal, winning a silver medal in the omnium in 2011.
He is however more likely to be named in the pursuit squad, which was his aim this year.
The other newcomer is Southland's Tom Scully, who has made a successful return to the track in recent weeks.
The 23-year-old was one of the country's most promising riders, winning a World Cup scratch race in Melbourne four years ago but suffered a serious injury when he crashed into a lamppost in a sprint finish riding for the New Zealand road team at the RAS Tour of Ireland in 2010.
After nearly a year out on recovery, he moved to the road in Europe but put his hand up on his return to the track last month, riding impressively in the Oceania Championships and last week won the madison with Patrick Bevin and was second in the points race at the World Cup in Mexico.
Mark Elliott, BikeNZ high performance director, said there would likely be a final team of nine riders, comprising a men's endurance and men's sprint group.
The high-performance riders not selected for the World Championships, including the women's endurance and sprint riders, will be focusing on next month's elite national championships which will form the final trial for July's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The riders are in the process of moving to the first centrally based programme in Cambridge.
The long list squad includes omnium world champion Aaron Gate and Olympic medallists Ryan and Simon van Velthooven, along with the bulk of the squad that has been involved in the World Cup programme and last year's development programme in Europe.
"The long list includes the same group of riders who have been in the high-performance squad for the past year or more, plus Tom Scully who fully deserves his place after his performances and is a welcome addition," Elliott said.
"Some of these riders will not make it to Cali and there is plenty of competition for those places. However all of this squad, among others, will be in the reckoning for the Commonwealth Games if they can perform to world class at the national championships and in training."
The final team is expected to be named next week with the championships in Cali running from February 26 to March 2.