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World Champion to race at NZ National Schools event
Sep 27th, 12. Around 1000 student cyclists will converge on Manawatu this weekend for the NZ National Schools Road Cycling Championships, including one World Champion.
Newly crowned under-19 Mountain Bike XC World Champion Anton Cooper from Christchurch Boys' High School is the big name attending the three-day event.
The event will host the crème of New Zealand age-grade cycling, who will compete in a team time trial [TTT], a road race, and a points race.
"A number of New Zealand's best professional cyclists have done it in the past, including Sarah Ulmer and Jesse Sergeant, for whom it was a great stepping stone in their careers."
One school who will be a serious contender in Manawatu is Christchurch Boys' High School [CBHS], who will be looking to add to their trophy cabinet after having great success at the recent South Island Secondary Schools Championships in Canterbury.
"We are going there to win; especially with our senior team. We have been developing them for a number of years and we'd like to win the Sir Bernard Fergusson trophy [presented to the winners of the under-20 men's TTT]," said Master in charge of cycling at CBHS Gary McNaughton.
"I read that Hamilton Boys' High School won the North Island TTT so they are probably going to be our number one competition."
CBHS have a strong cycling programme with between 140-160 riders turning out each week for bunch rides. They also boast newly crowned under-19 MTB Cross Country World Champion Anton Cooper, who will compete on the road in Manawatu.
The school will be taking a team of 18 riders up to nationals, including one cyclist from St Bede's College, who they offered to take as his school is not sending a team.
"This event has been our goal since the start of the year when we met up," said McNaughton.
The first discipline of the event will be the 16km TTT, which will take place in Levin. This will be followed by the road race on day two which in theory, despite having a few hills in it, should finish in a bunch sprint. The road race is a 16km course as well with the number of laps differing dependant on each age-grade.
The nationals will then move to the 3km Manfield race track in Palmerston North on the Monday to conclude the event with the points race; again, the number of laps will change grade-by-grade.
The event is being put on by Sport Manawatu, in conjunction with BikeNZ and the NZ Schools Cycling Association [NZSCA], along with the help of the Levin Cycling Club; it will run from September 29 – October 1.
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