NZ cyclists shaping up for home success

The New Zealand cycling team believes months of preparation at home

and abroad will pave the way for success when then compete in the

UCI Junior Track World Championships on home turf in Invercargill

starting tomorrow.

The under-19 Kiwi team will compete amongst 154 cyclists from 24

countries at the Stadium Southland Velodrome this week, in the hope

of continuing the international success of the BikeNZ programme.

Auckland sprinter Paige Paterson is a solid medal prospect after a

bronze medal ride at last year’s Junior Track World

Championships in Moscow.

"I’d like to come away from the event with some personal best

times and if they’re good enough, then hopefully I can get

gold," she said.

"It’s a whole lot easier being at home in New Zealand this

year, especially with all my relatives coming down to the event for

support."

After a series of camps in Invercargill, Paterson began her final

preparation in Europe with the New Zealand Olympic squad in their

build up to London, before heading back to Australia to link up

with the rest of the junior sprint squad.

"The Olympic team gave me plenty of tactical advice which was

great, but the main thing was just to train hard. It’s the

little things that seem to make all the difference in sprinting,"

said the 18-year-old.

"Diet is something that has been very strict over the last three

months; just rice, couscous and meat really, so I can’t wait

until next week when I can lash out a bit."

Current national and Oceania team pursuit champion Tom Beadle is

excited race after his successful switch to the sprint ranks after

preparation the United States.

"I’d definitely like to win a medal, but you can’t

really focus on outcomes too much. You’ve just got to race

your bike and if you end up with a medal around your neck, well

that’s a bonus," said the Invercargill rider.

"Preparation has been good all round. We had a great build up over

in America and then again back here in Invercargill. The

track’s been warm, and for us to be in a home environment is

great."

The 16-strong New Zealand team had their final training session at

the track this afternoon to shake out some nerves and keep the legs

moving.

"I think everyone’s probably a bit nervous. But as long as

you can handle your nerves and use them to your advantage rather

than let them get to you, then I think being nervous is actually a

good thing," said Beadle.

The team scored a record 10 medals in last year’s breakout

junior world championships in Moscow, with their last gold medal

coming in 2009 when Olympian Sam Webster won three gold medals

including the team sprint with London rider Ethan Mitchell.

The championships begin tomorrow with qualifying for the

women’s and men’s team pursuit during the day, with the

medals to be decided in the evening session along with the

men’s and women’s team pursuit.

There has been strong support with some nights already close to a

full house with the championships running through to Sunday.

New Zealand has only hosted the event once before, 30 years ago in

Wanganui.

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