Cycling: Kiwi team eye world success at home

Paige Paterson, a Future Stars of Sport award winner, is a solid medal prospect at the  UCI Junior Track World Championships. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Paige Paterson, a Future Stars of Sport award winner, is a solid medal prospect at the UCI Junior Track World Championships. Photo / Steven McNicholl

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.

- APNZ

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