At just 20 years of age Hamish Schreurs is already pretty well versed in the ways of international cycling. His time in Europe saw him race in France and Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, Ireland and over this way in Australia; and now he is back home. “Time in Europe was good fun, ups and downs as always I guess,” Hamish reflects. “I was happy with the race program but in a way for me racing pros in 1.1 and pro kermesse races, it was almost too hard to get a result. I came a way with some top 20 in 1.2s which I can’t be too unhappy with and it was a great eye opener for next year.”
An eye opener it most certainly was. With fellow teammate Cameron Karwowski the two certainly had their plate full. We caught up with Cameron Karwowski after the pair had completed the An Post Ras, a very successful race for New Zealand with Patrick Bevin winning two stages and wearing the leader’s yellow jersey. That was just one of a number of solid performances by the Karwowski & Schreurs duo that seemed to pop up pretty frequently all year. Possibly the pair’s finest result was in the Paris-Roubaix-like GP Pont a Marq where Karwowski placed third in a race strewn with cobblestones and difficulty.
Finishing in Europe Hamish was able to enjoy a little sight-seeing before heading our way. “I had some time to relax before I came home to New Zealand,” Hamish explains. “Chilling out in Paris which was good fun, having 10 days off before kicking right into some Aussie racing which wasn’t the easiest way to get into it. But it kick-started my training followed by some more Aussie racing with Albion cycles.” That Aussie racing saw Schreurs take on the final event of the Australian National Road Series, the McDonalds Grafton-Inverell. After more than 6.30hrs in the saddle Hamish completed the 228km race finishing 7th; a good indicator that things are coming together.
Beyond the off-season the future is bright for Hamish as he has recently signed a new contract with French outfit Sojasun Espoir-ACNC. The decision will importantly take him away from the track for the foreseeable future and onto a more focussed road campaign. We asked Hamish about why he has chosen to leave track for now. “The change from the road to the track was a hard one with BikeNZ supporting me over the last two years with a lot of stuff,” Hamish explains. “And now I don’t get that I have to fund myself. And the track racing I love it’s just more the fact that the UCI are cutting more and more events and the events like points and scratch race are not around anymore that’s what’s pushing me toward the road.”
In spite of his road commitment, Hamish’s love for the track is not lost and he would love to be back. But in true carpe diem fashion he is seizing the opportunity now while it’s their to be taken. “I would always love to come back to the track, I’ll just see what I can do on the road. I think that you need to give it a go while you are young as pro teams are looking for young riders to come up into their teams. But I would always love to come back to the track. If the bunch races come back to the Olympics I would be back in a flash.”
The Sojasun Espoir team happens to be the same outfit that fellow Kiwi Sean Hambrook rode for this year. And beyond that Schreurs has further connections. “I knew the director from the team as I raced with him in Canada in 2011, and now he’s director of the team. I have always kept in contact with him and to have Sean Hambrook on the team that always helps; having another kiwi on the team putting the good word in.”
The under-23 emphasis is something that certainly appeals to Schreurs. Although last year the team did have a couple of older riders – they are not bound by under-23 races – they will have access to events such as the U23 Paris-Roubaix, U23 Tour de Liege as well as others; providing an ideal stepping stone for Hamish that would be more a natural growing opportunity in that set up.
Interestingly there is also the language factor that appeals too! “Learning French will be good for me not only to keep me smart and my brain ticking over but good for cycling. Because everyone know you can be cycling forever!” If Jens Voigt’s example is anything to go by – who retired just shy of his 43rd birthday – Schreurs has a long time to learn French that could ultimately take him into the 2030s!
We wish Hamish a safe and successful SBS Tour of Southland and a very enjoyable off-season. For more from Hamish check out his blog by clicking here. Stay tuned for further updates on the SBS Tour of Southland right here at RoadCycling.
By: Ed Wright