Justin Grace wants cycling in New Zealand to live in the fast lane.

The BikeNZ coach has fought a battle to create a world-class group of track sprinters with sights firmly fixed on the podium at the 2012 London Olympics.

He feels his team of sprinters are on the cusp of something special and next week at the Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Invercargill, they have the opportunity to fast track their way to London.

He's nominated the quartet of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins and Simon van Velthooven as capable of competing at Olympic level.

"The Oceania Champs is a very important event for us on home soil. It's the most qualifying points for London on offer for our riders outside of the World Champs. Our expectations are to amass as many points as we can as a team and improve our chances of qualifying."

In the Oceania competition, any rider who wins their individual race automatically qualifies for the World Champs in 2012, a huge advantage for peaking in an Olympic year. Any team that qualifies also qualifies for two individual races at the Olympics.

New Zealand is sitting comfortably in fifth position on the standings, with 12 teams progressing to the World Champs, after a torrid workload in 2010.

"I copped a lot of flak for it at the time but it's paid off for us because we accumulated so many points last year by racing a lot."

New Zealand's biggest rivals next week will be Australia, regarded as one of the sprint superpowers with Great Britain, France and Germany.

"We're fortunate to compete against the best riders from Aussie all the time and that's taken our riding to a new level. They show us how good we need to be and we're competing."

It's all a long way from where it began in Grace's imagination for the sport in New Zealand.

"There were many times when I was dealing with people and they dismissed me... So it's very pleasing to have developed this talent in this country and shown people we can produce world-class sprinters."

In 2008, Grace established G Racing Institute - in his garage - funding the equipment himself. Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell headed to the 2009 world junior championships confident of their preparation.

They set new records for cycling in New Zealand. Webster became the first to win three gold medals - in sprint, keirin and team sprint.

"That got the interest of Bike New Zealand and then SPARC as funders. It's the opportunity I was looking for. With talent identification and opportunity we could become a very serious sprint nation."

Oceania Track Cycling Championships
* A 40-strong BikeNZ team has been named for this month's Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Invercargill.

* The championships, from November 21-24, will offer vital Olympic qualifying points in some events and form a key component of selection towards London as well as Oceania titles.

* Winners of elite titles will earn an automatic place for their country in April's UCI World Champs in Melbourne, which will provide crucial final qualifying points for the London Olympics.

* The Oceania events also offer qualifying points for London.