Cameron eyes up Games

By Jared Smith

While her eyes were on the road, Wanganui's world-class cyclist Cassie Cameron is showing New Zealand's Olympic selectors she can still bring it for them on the track.

Cameron was back home at the velodrome for the River City Wheelrace Carnival on Saturday, having just returned from competing as an Elite rider for the first time at the National Track Cycling Championships in Invercargill.

It's not like the teenager necessarily enjoys hanging out on her down time in that quiet town in the deep south having been six times in 2012 but she will be back again for the Age Group Track Cycling Championships at the end of the month, which will include the Elite riders who have not headed off to rejoin their professional overseas teams.

As such, Cameron wants to improve upon the two bronze medals she has already collected at the start of February - specifically her third placing in the 10km women's scratch race.

"You can't really peak for both [nationals]," she said on Saturday.

Last time Cameron couldn't get good position as she followed Canterbury's Elizabeth Steel and Auckland's Racquel Sheath home in the scratch race sprint.

"The last half a lap I was bouncing between the wheels of two girls. I was lucky to stay up.

"I didn't really have the track explosiveness."

Considering the earlier scheduling of the nationals, the teenager was still pleased, given her focus has been on road tours in Nelson and Canterbury.

She was only 0.5 of a second off her goal time in the individual pursuit race, finishing eighth, while teaming with Gemma Dudley and Maxyna Cottam as West Coast brought in a bronze in the team pursuit.

In a way Cameron is actually delighted with the overall placings, because the girls ahead of her are fellow youngsters new to Elite cycling, rather than the adult regulars. Simply put, any Olympic selectors now thinking four years ahead to Rio 2016, would be wise to invest their time in the young guns like her who have not even peaked yet.

And Cameron has faced those same girls since the Under-15s. "I've had a lot of stiff competition all the way through," she said.

"You want to get your name out there to set yourself up for next year."

That would be the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, worth focusing on given plans to send a NZ Elite team to Belgium this year have fallen through.

It is a fulltime commitment to the sport. Cameron said goodbye to her secondary school education in Wanganui after only two terms in 2012 - finishing her Level 3s with Merit in "the hard ones" like calculus, accounting, English and the sciences via correspondence while preparing for the world junior championships in Moscow, where she earned bronze.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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