Cycling New Zealand will welcome back some highly credentialled performers amongst a powerful team to contest the highly anticipated UCI Track World Cup in Cambridge next month.

The Cambridge event, to be held at the Avantidrome from 6-8 December, is the fourth of six world cups that will determine qualification for the world championships and more importantly, secure crucial ranking places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

While nations take slightly differing paths towards Tokyo in terms of squad strengths and preparation, the Cambridge event will still provide a significant litmus test towards Olympic aspirations.

The Vantage national team will welcome back 2013 omnium world champion Aaron Gate and 2015 team pursuit world champion Dylan Kennett in the male endurance squad for Cambridge, with Gate also competing in the Brisbane event the week after New Zealand.

The female endurance squad welcomes back three-time team pursuit world medallist Jaime Nielsen, a double Olympian, after the birth of her daughter, set to compete in Cambridge and Brisbane.

Cycling New Zealand has also entered two trade teams for Cambridge to ensure as many riders as possible have an opportunity to compete against some of the world’s best, including double junior world champion Ellesse Andrews, who impressed at the recent Oceania Championships after moving to the sprint ranks, and current junior world individual pursuit champion Ally Wollaston. Both will ride under the Subway trade team colours while a number of young male riders, who have progressed through the Cycling New Zealand Performance Hub system, will also get their opportunity riding as the Southern Spars trade team at Cambridge.

It is expected that a number of the major European nations will come in force for the Cambridge event as well as neighbours Australia, one of the sport’s super-powers, believed to be targeting the New Zealand event.

“It is going to be a fantastic opportunity for our riders to press their claims for Tokyo and execute against a world championship-quality field,” said Cycling New Zealand High Performance Director, Martin Barras.

“It will give us a strong indication of our progress and where we sit against some of the world’s best as we look towards a huge 2020 year. And importantly we want our riders to put their hands up to prove they are world class and want to be in the team for the world championships and on to Tokyo.

“This is also a wonderful and rare opportunity for them to compete in a World Cup on their home track and with the support from friends and family.”

With the UCI signalling sweeping changes to the track cycling environment after the Tokyo Olympics, the December event could be the final time that New Zealand gets to host a World Cup.

Cambridge World Cup team:

Vantage national team: Male, Endurance: Aaron Gate, Regan Gough, Dylan Kennett, Jordan Kerby, Nick Kergozou, Campbell Stewart. Sprint: Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster.

Female, endurance: Bryony Botha, Rushlee Buchanan, Holly Edmondston, Kirstie James, Jaime Nielsen. Sprint: Natasha Hansen, Olivia Podmore.

Subway trade team, Female, endurance: Michaela Drummond, Jessie Hodges, Emily Shearman, Nicole Shields, Racquel Sheath, Ally Wollaston. Sprint: Ellesse Andrews.

Southern Spars trade team, Male, endurance: George Jackson, Hugo Jones, Josh Scott, Conor Shearing, Kiaan Watts. Sprint: Jordan Castle, Sam Dakin, Bradly Knipe.

Brisbane World Cup team:

Vantage national team, Male endurance: Aaron Gate, Regan Gough, Jordan Kerby, Tom Sexton, Campbell Stewart, Corbin Strong. Sprint: Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster. 

Female, endurance: Rushlee Buchanan, Bryony Botha, Michaela Drummond, Holly Edmondston, Jaime Nielsen, Racquel Sheath. Sprint: Ellesse Andrews, Natasha Hansen, Olivia Podmore (Subway trade team).

Photo: Guy Swarbrick

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