BikeNZ looks to youth for success on track

BikeNZ will look to youth in its bid for Olympic success in the 2016 Rio Games.

The organisation has named six young riders to join several Olympic incumbents in a five-month Europe-based training and racing programme to develop a men's endurance track team for the world championships and Commonwealth Games next year and on to the Rio Olympics.

BikeNZ has bypassed taking a team pursuit to next month's world championships in Belarus in favour of the European campaign which will be based in Oudenaarde in the Flanders area of Belgium.

It has taken under-23 squads for road training to Belgium for the last three years but this year it has a different focus.

"We are a track squad who will be undergoing specific track development training and racing which will include some road training and racing to support this," said BikeNZ head coach Dayle Cheatley.

"The programme is aimed at track outcomes and we will be using this time to develop this group in their physical development, track skills as well as looking for combinations and a team culture."

BikeNZ will move to a base previously used by the Australian Drapac Porsche Continental team.

"It is a perfect base set up for cycling teams. It is within 30 minutes of two tracks in Ghent and Roubaix and very close for training and racing."

The six young riders selected, with an average age of 19, comprise Pieter Bulling and Cameron Karwowski (both Invercargill), Hamish Schreurs and Michael Vink (both Christchurch), Dylan Kennett (Waimate) and Hayden McCormick (Te Awamutu).

"Some of them have been to Europe with our previous under-23 squads or come through out under-19 programme and have exciting futures."

They will link up with Olympic incumbents Westley Gough, Marc Ryan, Shane Archbold and Aaron Gate who will be racing for teams in Europe.

"We will also be including other New Zealand riders who have contracts with teams in Europe and we believe have the talent to be considered including the likes of Myron Simpson."

BikeNZ is still awaiting qualification procedures for Rio but advice from UCI is that it is likely to new require a new process of qualifying track events in Europe to advance to World Cups which will be mandatory for qualification for the world championships and ultimately the Rio Olympics.

"We will be able to undertake track racing in Europe from this group and will be able to plan this more precisely when the UCI advise of this expected change to qualifying at the end of February."

The group will head Europe in early April and return in late august for the anticipated Oceania Championships, subject to the UCI qualifying process.

The squad for Europe is: Pieter Bulling (Invercargill) 19, Cameron Karwowski (Invercargill) 21, Dylan Kennett (Waimate) 18, Hayden McCormick (Te Awamutu) 19, Hamish Schreurs (Christchurch) 19, Michael Vink (Christchurch) 21.

BikeNZ incumbents: Marc Ryan (Timaru), Shane Archbold (Timaru), Westley Gough (Hastings), Aaron Gate (Auckland).

- APNZ

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