Cycling New Zealand riders on the road, mountain bike and BMX head across the Tasman this week for their respective Oceania and Australian events.

The Oceania Road Championships will be staged in Tasmania with the time trials near Launceston on Friday and road races based at Railton, 20kms inland from Devonport at the weekend.  Meanwhile the Oceania BMX Championships will be combined with the national championships at Bunbury, Western Australia, which is around two hours south of Perth.

The Mountain Bike National Performance Bub riders head to Canberra for the final two rounds of the Australian cross-country national series at Stromlo Forest Park on Saturday and Sunday.

Commonwealth Games-bound rider Hamish Bond will have a final hit out ahead of the Gold Coast in the time trial at Evandale near Launceston on Friday.  Bond, third at the Oceania Championships in his first international time trial last year, heads to Tasmania as the New Zealand champion after an emphatic display at January’s national championships in Napier.

In under-23 racing, national champion Georgia Catterick (Marlborough) was fifth in the Oceania time trial last year.  Of the men Canterbury’s Jake Marryatt was runner-up in the under-23 category at the national championships while the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Performance Hub pair of Oscar Elworthy and Ben Hamilton represented New Zealand at last year’s world championships.

The weekend action moves to Railton as the base for a testing road course amongst some renowned climbs and rolling roads, where World Tour star Richie Porte learned his trade.

Two-time national champion Jason Christie (Tasman) will be a strong contender in the elite race over 152kms (6 laps) on Sunday, the lone New Zealand elite rider.

The New Zealand squad will pose a threat in the under-19 racing with 27 riders competing.

National under-17 champion Finn Fisher-Black (Nelson) is part of the Skoda trade team competing including Te Awamutu’s Josh Lane, the Yunca Tour winner last year, while Josh Kench (Counties Manukau) won the national under-19 title and last year’s under-17 grade in the Goulburn Tour across the Taman.

In the under-19 females, Abigail Morton was a medallist and her Counties Manukau teammate was fourth at the Commonwealth Youth Games, and Lee Boon (New Plymouth) and McKenzie Milne (Te Awamutu) were first and second at the Te Awamutu Tour, while Manawatu’s Connie O’Brien was fifth at last year’s Oceania Championships.

The under-19 men, under-23 and elite women compete over 102km (4 laps) on Saturday with the under-19 females 77kms (3 laps) and elite men 152km (six laps) on Sunday.

There are nine New Zealand BMX riders, headed by London Olympic medallist Sarah Walker and 2016 junior world champion Maynard Peel to compete in the Continental championships at Bunbury.

The competition is a single day event for elite and challenge (age group) classes on Wednesday with most riders staying on for the Australian championships from Thursday to Saturday at the same venue.

Walker (Rotorua club), Peel (Sunset Coast), Rebecca Petch (Te Awamutu) and Amy Martin (Hawkes Bay) will compete in the elite class, while Cailen Calkin (Hamilton), Luey Cotton (Kapiti), Rico D’Anvers (Cambridge), Liam Goodwin (Christchurch City), Cameron Jago (Mountain Raiders) and Ryan Jordan (Hamilton) will compete in the elite junior men.

Meanwhile four junior riders from the Subway national performance hub will head to Canberra to compete in the final double round of the Australian national series.

The under-19 female national champion Sammie Maxwell (Taupo) will be racing along with, Caleb Bottcher (Palmerston North) and Max Taylor (Palmerston North), who were third and fourth respectively at nationals in the under-19 category, and 16-year-old Connor Johnston (Rotorua), the youngest of the four Johnston family who are all elite mountain bikers.

Other members of the national hub will compete in the Crankworx competition in Rotorua this week.


Photo:  John Cowpland


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