The 2019 Cycling New Zealand National Track Series pedalled into action in Invercargill over Queen’s Birthday weekend in the first of the three-round series.

More than 70 of New Zealand’s best young riders, from under-17 to under-23 took part in the event, hosted by Cycling Southland at the SIT Velodrome, including a large contingent of Subway Performance Hub riders. 

The series provides a platform for young riders to develop their tactical and technical competence, and attend educational coaching workshops to help hone their skills. Cycling New Zealand introduced the series in 2018 and the strong increase in numbers for the first round this year is testament to the value of the series.

Cycling New Zealand’s High Performance Director, Martin Barras believes this series is an essential component to develop our future Olympians.

“Age and stage appropriate racing is an essential component to the recruitment and preparation of our young talent, including those in the Subway Performance Hubs.  I am delighted with the series so far and look forward to seeing the riders’ confidence and talent shine.”

First time participant and Upper South Island Performance Hub rider Jack Drage, said: “It’s been hard but good racing and I’m looking forward to taking the learnings from this weekend and continue to gain skills particularly in the Madison.  This series gives us the chance to have so much racing with riders of the same ability – we didn’t have that before.”

Eva Parkinson, a member of the Grassroots Trust Waikato BOP Performance Hub and the New Zealand Junior World Championships team, is relishing the opportunity to gain more experience in bunch racing and particular the Madison in which she hopes to compete in at the World Championships later in the year. 

“We have all had so much fun with lots of learning and racing experience which is only going to benefit our performance at the Worlds,” said Parkinson.

Sid Cumming, SIT Southern Performance Hub’s head coach, said the competition was fierce at the weekend’s track series.

“It’s exciting to see the standard lifting year on year” he says.

Local Subway franchise owners, Richard and Paula Jackson attended the National Track Series and have praised the Subway Regional Performance Hub programme for the support it has provided budding riders over the last four years.

“My husband Richard and I love being part of the cycling events in our local community, and make sure we head to the velodrome to cheer the team on,” said Paula.

The next two rounds of the National Track Series will take place at the Avantidrome in Cambridge on 12-14 July and 13–15 September. 

Photo: Eugene Bonthuys

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