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Juniors head offshore in search of world success at home
Jun 19th, 12. NZ's top young track cyclists are going offshore to ensure they get optimal build up for the UCI Junior Track World Championships in Invercargill in August.
Two weeks after the London Olympics, the Southland velodrome will become the hotbed for track cycling as junior riders from around the world gather for their chance at the rainbow rings.
While New Zealand cyclist do not need to travel far to reach the championships, they have opted to go abroad to ensure they can achieve world-class racing in the lead up to the event.
All riders of the 16-strong NZ junior track cycling team will spend a portion of the next month overseas to prepare for the Championships to be held on home territory in Invercargill on 22-26 August - the biggest international cycling event in New Zealand since the junior worlds were held in Wanganui 30 years ago.
The endurance male contingent departs for the US today, where they will be joined by teammate Hayden McCormick who has spent the last two months racing (and winning) in Belgium.
Many of this team will form a key part of NZ track programme looking ahead to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and beyond.
"Right now our primary focus is on London of course, but in behind this is the junior track championships which are not only a massive opportunity to showcase our sport in New Zealand but also a hugely important building block for our next echelon of riders," said BikeNZ High Performance Director, Mark Elliott.
"They have the opportunity to not only achieve international success at the highest level for their age, but to put their hands up as we prepare towards the 2016 Olympics. Those of them with aspirations of developing professional careers on the road will realise the proven pathway is often out of successful endurance track programmes."
The full squad completed a successful training camp in Invercargill in April, but national junior coach Ross Machejefski said the winter months made it important to head overseas to gain a solid preparation if the riders are to maximise their opportunities at the World Championships.
"In recent times the championships have been mostly in Europe and we have travelled early to get our final preparation," Machejefski said.
"It's doubly important to get that preparation with the event in our own country and if we want optimal performances in Invercargill."
Even with a six-figure investment from BikeNZ, the squad have had to find approximately $7,000 each for this training phase.
The male endurance group heads to Wisconsin this week for an initial three week training block where they will race part of the Tour of America's Dairylands, which has been set up with the help of 2009 Omnium World Champion Hayden Godfrey.
"Hayden had spent a lot of time in that area during his career and has great contacts there. He has not only helped set-up racing for us and key contacts, but he has agreed to travel with us. His cycling knowledge will be invaluable and a tremendous boost for the squad," said Machejefski.
The female endurance group will hold a weeklong camp at Invercargill in early July before flying out to the USA where they will meet up with the male team based at Kutztown, Pennsylvania for a month of training and racing.
"It's a favourite base for New Zealand cyclists and the women's Olympic team will be using the town for their build-up.
The riding is great there, and it is a hub for a lot of outdoor velodrome racing."
The team returns home at the end of July for a week before a final two week camp at Invercargill ahead of the championships.
Sprint team overseas too
Aucklander Paige Paterson has joined elite sprint women in Europe for training and racing before returning to join the rest of the juniors print squad Rockhampton, Queensland for a two week camp in July. They then join up with the full squad for the final preparation camp.
The New Zealand Junior Track World Championship team
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