Cycling: Teen emerges from family peloton

By Anendra Singh


Oceania Road Championship

Canberra

Cycling

He is, without doubt, Westley Gough's cousin - an affinity he shares with equal zest with Fraser Gough.

That, let it be known, will never change.

In cycling circles, though, there's also little doubt Regan Gough is his own man.

Slowly, but surely, he has been slipping out of the shadow of the other saddle-happy Goughs affiliated to cycling in Hawke's Bay.

Not that Regan has ever had any qualms about pumping his legs in the peloton of the Gough grind, as it were, while his cousins jostle among the pace setters.

"I don't mind it. I've got to have someone to follow," he says at a cafe in the heart of the Havelock North village shortly before heading off to another Saturday road race with the Ramblers Cycling Club.

He sees the benefits of carrying on the legacy of a dynasty of elite riders hailing from small-town New Zealand.

If people ever wondered whether Regan has what it takes to some day emulate the feat of his more famous cousin and Olympian, Westley Gough, then the 16-year-old's performance a fortnight ago will go a long way toward easing any doubts.

The Central Hawke's Bay College pupil became the national under-19 omnium track champion in Invercargill a fortnight ago.

Omnium, for the uninitiated, involves six events, comprising three bunch and three individual events incorporating endurance and sprint disciplines judged on the rider's ability to accrue the least number of points, akin to golf.

Gough's victory came hot on the heels of clinching the national under-19 points race (25km event, including a 5km sprint) early last month.

Not surprisingly, national selectors named him in the New Zealand under-19 team to the World Championship in Glasgow, Scotland, from August 11-14.

"I prefer road to track but everyone does track so it's just what you have to do," says the teenager from Otane who jetted off to Canberra on Tuesday for the Oceania Road Championship starting today.

It's his third trip to the capital of Australia where he has competed in two under-17 tours.

It'll be the second time Gough will be representing his country, having worn the silver fern at under-19 level in Adelaide in November last year.

His cousins have inspired him tremendously.

"Fraser's a little closer to my age so he's a little more relevant," he says of the 19-year-old world junior champion from Havelock North.

Westley, of course, was seldom home in Waipukurau because of his professional commitments abroad.

Following in their tracks is a reassurance for Regan he's on the right track.

"I'm doing the same worlds they've been doing," says the son of accountant Penny Gough and Infracon Roading Company manager Dean Gough.

A member of Cycling CHB as well, Regan Gough's ultimate dream is to ride in the professional tour of Europe and represent his country in the Olympics Games.

France or Belgium appeals, he says, revealing he'll be at the latter nation in July for a build-up to the Worlds in Glasgow a month later.

A "good" scholar, Gough has been riding for six years, catching the fever in CHB where his father and uncles have been Lycra regulars on the motorway.

He's had his fair share of setbacks as he incrementally built a regimented training routine to about 700km a week.

Two years ago he got very sick when a viral infection took hold. Add to that a broken collarbone and, not long ago, a broken wrist.

"All those things inspire you to train harder so it's all positive in a way," says the teenager who has been under the tutelage of Ivar Hopman, of Hastings, from the outset.

"He [Hopman] understands me and how I ride," he says, also lauding his sponsors, Raisey's Original and Hub Cycle Centre, although indebted to "the locals" for their help.

For the record, a grinning Gough reveals he has an elder sister, Kelsi, 23, who has no interest whatsoever in riding.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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