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Josh Atkins heading to Trek Livestrong
Sep 15th, 10. U19 NZ Champion Josh Atkins impressed more than just the NZ cycling community this year. Today he announced he has signed with US team Trek Livestrong.
Trek Livestrong is an U23 development team run by Axel Merckx and owned by Lance Armstrong. The team was created as a project to develop the next generation of great young cyclists.
Kiwis Sam Bewley and Jesse Sergent served their apprenticeship with the team and have both gone on to sign contracts with pro-tour team RadioShack.
Now it is time for another talented Kiwi to show the world the calibre of cyclists we have here in New Zealand.
Atkins is joining the team for their 2011 season.
2010 has been an up and down year for the Canterbury teen. He missed the track and road nationals at the beginning of the year due to surgery he needed to fix an artery in his leg.
The operation was deemed a success when Atkins won his first race back, March's Graperide.
He followed that victory with a podium spot in the Benchmark Homes Series Round 1 the next day, then continued his success with the U19 tour win in the KiwiVelo TA Tour, a win in Round 2 of the Benchmark Homes Tour, the road and time trial U19 double at the Club Nationals and another Benchmark Homes Round win in early May.
Unfortunately, Atkins' leg problem flared up again. Although the 18 year old was named in the NZ team for the UCI Junior Track World Championships, he had to pull out before the team left the country.
After careful rehab, Atkins is back in action and once again looking to the future with optimism. Not even a 7.1 earthquake can stop the motivated teen preparing himself for the big season ahead.
Atkins has proved to be a smart rider as well as a fast rider, with tactical moves a frequent part of his success. He'll need those skills and more when he steps up to the start line in the top ranked US tours in 2011.
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