Two Waikato teenagers arrived in Australia last night rearing to go in their first competition as elite international track riders.
Scott Creighton, 19 and Hayden McCormick, 18, are part of the New Zealand squad to contest the Oceania track championships which start in Adelaide next Wednesday.
The duo have previously been in the medals at the world junior championships, but now they are set to experience the step up against their older rivals.
They are in a five-strong male endurance squad which also includes the Invercargill duo of Pieter Bulling and Cameron Karwowski, as well as Waimate's Dylan Kennett.
For Hamilton's Creighton, he is not going over with any big expectations but wants to soak up the experience at the four-day competition.
"Mainly to just get a medal and get some more experience in bunch racing and just build, really," he said.
Creighton is unsure about what events he will be competing in yet, but will be looking to use his valuable experience of the junior worlds campaigns, which included a bronze medal in the team pursuit at last year's event in Russia.
"That was massive experience, so hopefully I can bring some of it to this campaign."
Creighton is coming off the Tour of Southland road race which he competed in for the first time, finishing 50th.
Earlier in the year he travelled with Bulling and Karwowski to Belgium for three months, followed by a month in the United States. "It was good. We did quite a lot of road races in Belgium and we did an eight-day tour in Ireland as well. From there we went to America and we pretty much just did track racing."
McCormick, from Te Awamutu, has had a stellar year, which included riding in Belgium.
At the junior world track championships in Invercargill he collected bronze in the madison and silver in the team pursuit, as well as picking up gold in the madison at the elite track nationals, along with winning the elite criterium champs on the road this month.
McCormick will have a hectic schedule, racing the madison, points race, scratch race and individual pursuit, while he is also highly likely to be in the team pursuit, which gets named during the event.
"I'm hoping to just do some good times for a first-year elite," McCormick said of his aims. "And in the madison hopefully me and Dylan can try and sneak the win."
While most of his preparation has been done on the road, McCormick felt he was still in great shape.
"I think I've done two track sessions and sort of just going over there with road [racing] in my legs. I had junior worlds this year and have done all the track buildup, you don't need that much, so hopefully it'll be all right."
Immediately following the competition, McCormick will head to Bundaberg in Queensland for a week-long track carnival before he takes a well-earned summer holiday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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