Almost 700 riders from 83 schools around New Zealand are competing in this weekend’s NZSS Road Cycling Championships in the Manawatu.
Hosted by the New Zealand Schools Cycling Association, the racing takes place on Saturday, Sunday and Monday with a Team Time Trial, Road Race and Points Race for boys and girls in five age groups ranging from U14 to U20 years.
The 50th edition of the championships begins on Saturday with the team time trial over 16km with three grades - U20, U16 and Year 7/8 - at Koputaroa School near Levin.
The prestigious Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy is on the line in the Boys Boys U20 time trial. Palmerston North Boys’ High School are the defending champions, having beaten 2015 winners Auckland Grammar School by just 5/100ths of a second last year. St Peter’s School won last year’s U20 Girls time trial.
The road race is on Sunday at Colyton School, east of Feilding, over an 18km-lap course.
The final day on Monday is a points race around the 3km lap circuit at Manfeild race track in Feilding.
The championships will feature a number of top cyclists from around the country, many of whom competed at last year’s junior track championships in Italy and the road world championships in Norway and at the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas in July. This includes recent track individual pursuit world record holder Ellesse Andrews (St Peter’s School) and Oscar Elworthy (Takapuna Grammar School) who rode for New Zealand at the recent road championships in Norway.
Other contenders in the U20 boys include Auckland Grammar's Aaron Wyllie (Auckland Grammar School), Campbell Pithie (Christchurch Boys' High School) and Dylan Simpson (Palmerston North Boys’ High School).
In the U20 girls, Hannah Knighton (Waikato Diocesan School) recently competed at the triathlon world championships, Abigail Morton (Baradene College), won silver in the time trial at the Youth Commonwealth Games, Holly Blakely (St Peter’s School) won gold in the NISS road race in July and Andrews’ teammate at the recent junior world track cycling championships in Italy, Libby Arbuckle (Palmerston North Girls’ High School).
The U17 boys field includes national road champion Finn Fisher-Black (Nelson College), while the U17 girls will be competitive as always, with Isabella Morton (Baradene College) and Ally Wollaston (St Peter’s School) two expected to feature.
Numerous cups and trophies are on the line this weekend.
In overall classification, champion overall boys and girls secondary schools will be crowned based on overall points. The A.J Drake Cup is on the line for the top overall girls school and the H.A Joli Cup for the boys.
The top junior boys and girls Schools (Years 7 and 8) will be competing for the Chris Ginders Cup and the Marie Laycock Cup.
Palmerston North Boys ’High School and Waikato Diocesan won the Best Overall Schools Road Race and Criterium Races at the recent NISS Cycling championships, while Christchurch Boys’ High School comfortably won the Hayden Godfrey Challenge Cup for winning the team points competition in July’s SISS road cycling championships.
Elsewhere, the South Island School Track Championships are being held during the second week of the school holidays on 10 and 11 October in Invercargill.
History of the event
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