McCormick targeted for Olympics

Te Awamutu cyclist Hayden McCormick has been eyed up by BikeNZ as a key to its Olympic success in 2016.

Yesterday the 19-year-old was named as one of six young riders to join several Olympic incumbents in a five-month European-based training and racing programme to develop a men's endurance track team for the world championships and Commonwealth Games next year and on to the Rio Olympics.

BikeNZ has bypassed taking a team pursuit to next month's world championships in Belarus in favour of the European campaign, which will be based in Oudenaarde in the Flanders area of Belgium.

They have taken under-23 squads for road training to Belgium for the last three years but this year it has a different focus.

"We are a track squad who will be undergoing specific track development training and racing which will include some road training and racing to support this," BikeNZ head coach Dayle Cheatley said.

"The programme is aimed at track outcomes and we will be using this time to develop this group."

BikeNZ will move to a base previously used by the Australian Drapac Porsche Continental team.

"It is a perfect base set up for cycling teams. It is within 30 minutes of two tracks in Ghent and Roubaix and very close for training and racing."

The six riders selected, with an average age of 19, also comprise Pieter Bulling and Cameron Karwowski (both Invercargill), Hamish Schreurs and Michael Vink (both Christchurch) and Dylan Kennett (Waimate).

They will link up with Olympic incumbents Westley Gough, Marc Ryan, Shane Archbold and Aaron Gate, who will be racing for teams in Europe.

"We will also be including other New Zealand riders who have contracts with teams in Europe and we believe have the talent to be considered, including the likes of Myron Simpson.

"This year is the ideal time in the post-Olympic year for this technical development work which will form a critical part of our pathway going forward."

BikeNZ is still awaiting qualification procedures for Rio but advice from the UCI is that it is likely to now require a new process of qualifying track events in Europe to advance to World Cups which will be mandatory for qualification for the world championships and ultimately the Rio Olympics.

"We will be able to undertake track racing in Europe from this group and will be able to plan this more precisely when the UCI advise of this expected change to qualifying at the end of February."

The group will head to Europe in early April and return in late August for the anticipated Oceania Championships, subject to the UCI qualifying process.

Waikato Times