Elliot Robertson loves the liberty and isolation of riding his bike. Every Saturday he’ll trek 150km unphased by the sometimes-low regard cyclists are held in central Wellington.
“It’s almost always the driver's fault, especially in rush hour. It’s strange how shockingly angry people get with cyclists. I reckon it’s because they can’t drive properly,” Robertson laughed.
That harsh rebuke has merit coming from the National and North Island Under-17 Road Racing champion.
Robertson started cycling while in intermediate at Scots College. He was introduced to the sport by teacher Susan Levitt and derived immediate enjoyment. It wasn’t until one of those Saturday rides however he’s standard went to the next level.
“Before this year I had a series of good placings in big races without ever winning anything. One afternoon I was out riding and passed James Canny. He caught up to me and asked if I rode competitively. We met for coffee and he invited me on to his team.”
James Canny grew up with a dream of being a pro cyclist. His dream was abruptly terminated when he was hit by a drunk driver in 2003. Following an arduous recovery, James managed to return to racing at an elite level in the USA, but the lasting impact from his injuries limited his racing potential. Returning to New Zealand, and finding it difficult to join a local team, the corporate lawyer founded the New Zealand Cycling Project or MitoQ. The team raced in the 2020 Tour of Southland and has assisted a number of riders competing both locally and abroad.
“James invited me aboard as a longshot apprentice and that’s when I decided to take things more seriously. I train between 13 and 15 hours a week. Mum and James are like human ATM’s. I really appreciate their support and try to show value by improving all the time.”
Robertson won the National Under-17 road race in Rotorua in April. In a hundred-plus field he edged out Auckland opposition in a breakthrough triumph. Last month, with a target on his back, he competed in the Skoda North Island Championships in Cambridge and once again the result was startling.
“It was a 60 km road race in Cambridge. Five loops of a set course with a big hill in the middle. We started in the morning by Lake Karapiro where it was freezing. I was in a group which pulled away from the rest. We struck together until the end where my legs managed to carry me home.
“I’m not a big gym guy, I'm a leaner, faster rider, so to be able to finish like I did was really awesome.”
The Tour of Southland at the end of October is a gruelling and prestigious eight-stage (865km) race held annually since 1956. Olympic medallist Hayden Roulston is a four-time winner. Robertson was third in the Yunca Junior tour last year, will compete in the same competition in 2021.
“The tour of Southland is a big race for me. I can’t compete in the actual tour until I’m 18, but two races a day, terrible weather and longer distances is a great mental and physical challenge. I’m aiming for a big result,” Robertson warned.
The 2020 College Sport Wellington Cyclist of the Year enjoys physical education and economics at school.
*Robertson wasn’t the only Wellington rider to feature prominently at the North Island Championships. Millie Donald (Kapiti College) was second in both the U15 road and criterium races. Maddie Stephenson (St Matthews College) and Leroux van der Leek (Rathkeale College) were in the top 10 of the same events in the U14 race as was Alex Foden (Onslow College) in the U16 class. In May Camden Feint (Kapiti College) joined the Grenoble Metropole Cyclisme 38 (GMC38) Cycling Club in France. The French seem to regard cycling as essential to the national interest, so as an elite cyclist, Cam has an exemption certificate to the lockdown rules there. Feint said the cycling is really exciting, and his team have already tested him out on the climbs in the mountains, some of which are famous because of the Tour de France.
He’s already enjoying spectacular success on the BMX track, but Jake Earnest’s cycling career has just been given a phenomenal boost.
The ACG Parnell College Prefect has been selected into the Cycling New Zealand BMX Performance Hub – a national training programme that pathways riders aged 16 to 22 into the high-performance sport. With just four new riders selected for this year’s squad, Jake is thrilled to make the team and have the opportunity to take his sporting prowess to the next level.
“Being picked allows me to have a more straightforward approach to being an elite level rider,” says Jake. “It enables me to take the next step in my development while gaining knowledge and understanding of what will be required when entering a high-performance programme.”
Participants benefit from high-level coaching, training camps and athlete workshops, as well as strength and conditioning work, access to testing data and the chance to compete in international events (COVID-19 dependent).
“I hope to gain a multitude of technical progression and tactical/situational awareness skills, which will allow me to compete at an Australasian and international level. I’m also looking to improve my mental and physical attributes, which will complement each other and make me a better rider and person.”
BMXing for the past 12 years, Jake already has a string of accolades to his name. He’s been the South Island Champion twice, the North Island Champion once, and has made the National Championship finals 11 times. Not only that, but he’s had podium finishes in six National Champs and even been in a World Championship final.
His proudest moments? “Getting fifth in my age group at the 2013 World Championships and being a semi-finalist at the World Champs in 2015, 2016 and 2018.”
Now focused on improving his technical performance through the BMX Performance Hub, the talented 16-year-old has his sights set on a podium finish in the Junior Elite National Championships later this year and eventually hopes to achieve international selection for Oceania and the World Rounds/Championships. With around 14 hours a week spent targeting fitness, strength and conditioning, and technical skills, it’s a lot to fit in. But that’s just how Jake likes it.
“I’ve grown up on a bike, and I adore progressing my skills and jumping bigger and bigger obstacles. I love the feeling of riding fast, not to mention the opportunities the sport has given me to travel New Zealand and the world.”
Although BMX riding is his greatest passion, Jake also has plenty of other strings to his bow. He competes nationally for ACG Parnell College in downhill mountain biking, plays football and volleyball, and is flourishing academically too.
“The willingness of the school to support academic and sporting endeavours allows us the freedom to diversify our commitments and pushes us to maximise our potential. Obviously, I’m drawn to the academically rigorous nature of ACG, but the school’s encouragement of sports and other extracurriculars have also helped me become a more well-rounded student.”
ACG Parnell College Sports Coordinator Steph Trowill couldn’t agree more.
“Jake is an outstanding young man who has a bright future awaiting him. It is great to see him thriving in his Cambridge AS-Level subjects while also juggling the demands of his sporting endeavours,” says Steph.
“Selection into the Cycling New Zealand BMX Performance Hub is a well-earned achievement after many years of hard work, and I have no doubt Jake will soak up every bit of knowledge gained through the Hub to help him push on to bigger success.”
Poppy Buissink won two out of three Girls U20 titles on offer in contrasting ways at last weekend’s National Schools Mountain Bike Championships in Dunedin.
Year 13 Epsom Girls Grammar School rider Poppy led the way in her age group by winning the enduro last Friday and the cross country race on Sunday.
In the enduro, run over five stages at the Signal Hill Mountain Bike Park, she battled with hometown Taieri College rider Emma Cunningham from to win by just one second.
Two days later Poppy finished the cross country five minutes clear of EGGS school-mate Sarah Harvison with Emma Cunningham third.
“My main event was cross country, which I was hoping to do really well in, but I wasn’t sure how the enduro would go,” said Poppy.
“When we were practicing I was actually quite surprised with the tracks as they were not how I expected, they were super rocky and down the bottom of the hill they were slippery. So at one stage we considered just not doing it, just in case we got injured before the cross country.”
“So I was happy I did that in the end!’
Poppy’s enduro win followed up her win in the same event in the North Island Secondary School Mountain Biking Championships, while she was second in the cross country in the North Island race behind Taupo’s Tauhara College New Zealand U19 champion Sammie Maxwell.
The cross country was run on a five-lap course totalling about 20km. Being both runner-up at the schools North Islands this year and in this same national race last year she was focused on putting in a strong performance.
The cross country course started off at a strong pace uphill, before entering a the single track section. Poppy’s tactics of going out hard and getting to the front paid off.
“I wanted to get to the single track first which I did. I was happy with that, and then decided to see if I could break it up on the Big Easy which gave me a good lead,” she said.
As well as finishing five minutes clear of second place EGGS school-mate Sarah Harvison, Poppy’s year 11 sister Scarlett was third in the U17 cross country race.
“Sarah who came second was also in my team that came second at road nationals last week, so that was pretty cool too.”
At the road cycling nationals the previous week in the Manawatu, the two senior riders and younger sister Scarlett were part of the EGGS U20 team that finished second to Baradene College in the prestigious team trial. Baradene won with a time of 27:34.59 with 16 seconds back to EGGS and Christchurch’s Villa Maria College a further minute back in third.
Earlier in the year, EGGS had beaten Baradene into first in both the Auckland series and the North Island Secondary Schools Girls U20 team trial events, so the two schools share a healthy rivalry on the road.
EGGS’ U16 time trial team also finished second to Baradene, with Saint Kentigern College third, while Tegan Feringa was second in the U15 individual road race and Queenie Mcelwee was third in the U17 road race. Ally Gothard won the U16 points race and Maia Barclay was third in the U15 points race.
Individually, Poppy was third in the North Island road race and won the criterium, and then was eighth in the road race at nationals last week.
Poppy said that mountain biking and road cycling complement each other.
“A group of us all go out mountain biking to Totara Park in Manukau on Wednesday nights.”
Poppy has been cycling competitively for several years, after spending her childhood in Dunedin prior to moving to Auckland in year 6 and doing tap dancing and ballet dancing.
“My dad used to do ironman races, so I thought I would give that a go so I started doing some road cycling and really loved it so I have been cycling competitively since then.”
Next year’s National Mountain Bike Nationals are on the same course in Dunedin in January. Poppy was third in the U19 race at this year’s Nationals behind winner Sammie Maxwell.
Before then, Poppy’s focus will be on returning to school next term to prepare for Level 3 NCEA exams coming up in November.
College Sport New Zealand (CSNZ) thanks the One Foundation for their support with this and other stories in 2019 on College Sport Media.
Three years ago Laurence Pithie was the NZSS Year 9 Boys cross country running champion.
In 2019 the year 12 Christchurch Boys’ High School student is fast making a name for himself as a track and road cyclist.
In the past several weeks he has struck major success in both formats, first becoming a double world champion in the Omnium and Madison at the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships and second and most recently winning all three U20 Boys titles on offer at the Cycling New Zealand Schools Road Championships.
The 52nd annual Cycling New Zealand Schools Road Championships were held in and around Feilding this past weekend over three days. The team time trials were held on Saturday and the two individual races, the road race and points race, were on Sunday and Monday.
Laurence’s CBHS team successfully defended the Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy, for the U20 Boys’ team trial.
With the help of his teammates, and with his own individual strength, speed and guile, he won the individual road race and points race titles on the second and third days.
“It was pretty awesome to come away with the trifecta,” he said, “not many people have done it before so I was pretty stoked to do that!”
“We won the team time trial last year at home in Christchurch. We had a similar team make-up this year, although we were missing one of our strong riders, Logan Currie, who was away at the UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire.”
CBHS’s 16km loop team time trial win was by the slimmest of margins – beating Cambridge High School by 0.31s. “It came down to the wire, a blink of an eye.”
The individual road race the next day over 54kms was in very windy conditions, making it tough for all. “This was good for me because it played into my strengths a little bit because of my restricted gears.”
Again, this was closely fought, with Laurence edging U19 national representative Xander White (Cambridge High School) and track world champion teammate Kiaan Watts (Hamilton Boys’ High School) in a sprint finish.
There was a breakaway and it came down to the sprint finish.
“It was a pretty stacked breakaway. I had a teammate, Griffin Spencer, in there, and also two guys from Cambridge High and a Hamilton Boys’ rider Kiaan Watts who I won the Madison world title with [see below].
“I just timed it perfectly and came around on the righthand side and was getting blocked from the wind from the other riders. Usually Kiaan is pretty smart with his finishing but I managed to get one up on him on this occasion and I came off his wheel.”
On Monday the weather was worse for the points races, with lashings of heavy rain thrown into the mix. “So that made it a pretty miserable but exciting race. There were no crashes though, everyone managed to keep it upright going around the Manfeild race track.”
The Boys U20 Points Race was reduced from 12 to seven laps.
With more solid team work from his CBHS teammates, Laurence again dominated the sprints with 12 points ahead of Kiaan Watts and Jensen Foster (Saint Kentigern College).
Monday’s racing saw points awarded on alternate laps two, for six and seven, with 5 points awarded for a win, 3 for second and 2 and 1 for third and fourth.
Laurence’s hot form outdoors followed on from his recent breakthrough wins on the world stage.
In August at the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Germany, he won the Omnium title and then partnered with Kiaan Watts to win the Madison title.
“I couldn’t really believe it when I did it, but it has sunk in now and great to look back on.”
The Omnium consisted of four races in one day as well a qualifying race, so five all up and about 100km on the track.
He was fourth in the in the opening 7.5km scratch race and then won the tempo race, elimination race and points race to finish 21 points ahead of second placed Australian Graeme Frislie.
The Madison is a 100-lap, two-up points race and was the next day. Laurence and Kiaan finished with 49 points, ahead of Germany with 35 and France with 17.
Prior to the World Championships, the riders had some camps in New Zealand before spending two weeks training in Germany.
In the two-rider Madison, he and Watts turned in a dominant performance. They finished with 49 points ahead of Germany on 35 and France on 27 for the 30km ride, where no team was able to put a lap on the field. The Kiwi pair won the final three sprints to clinch victory.
Back home this week, Laurence is in training for the Oceania Track Cycling Championships coming up in Invercargill, starting in a fortnight. He will be representing Canterbury and not New Zealand in his U19 age-group due to the New Zealand team including mainly young development riders.
Unable to train on a track in Christchurch, Laurence is doing his training on the trainer and on the road. “It is okay in the summer, but it can be a bit tough out there in the Christchurch weather in the winter.”
“My coach Andrew Williams has structured by training on the road so it simulates the track work I would be doing inside.
“I will show up to the track in Invercargill the day before racing and then I will crack straight into it.”
Andrew Williams has been his coach for three years. He is a former nationally ranked junior runner, he started cycling to alleviate a knee injury and hasn’t looked back.
Next year he is hoping to head for Europe for some more road racing experience, while he is eligible to defend his titles at the 2020 Junior World Track Championships in Egypt
College Sport New Zealand (CSNZ) thanks the One Foundation for their support with this and other stories in 2019 on College Sport Media.
Waikato cyclist Jack Carswell has recorded a world’s best time for an under-17 rider in the individual pursuit during a special trial at the Avantidrome Cambridge on Saturday 21 September.
The 15-year-old Cambridge High School student recorded a blistering time of 2.13.326 for the 2000m test which edged the previous mark set by Canada’s Dylan Bibic of 2:13.579 earlier this year.
It also broke Carswell’s own New Zealand record of 2:14.214 that he set in winning the under-17 title at the Vantage Age Nationals in Cambridge in March.
It capped a string of notable results for Carswell in recent weeks, winning the overall title in the Cycling New Zealand National Track Series, the New Zealand schools criterium title and breaking the long standing individual time trial record at the Northern Tour set by national champion James Fouche, now a professional rider for Team Wiggins.
“I had wanted to break the world mark after coming so close in March at the National Champs. This was my last chance as I move up to the Under 19 ranks in just over a week, so I am stoked,” said Carswell.
This is his last year as an under-17 rider but as the upcoming Oceania event is classed as the 2020 championships, then Carswell will need to race up in the under-19 competition.
Carswell, who is a member of the WBOP Grassroots Trust Performance Hub and has recently signed for top domestic road team Skoda Fruzio, has had a stunning year setting four national records, winning six national titles on the road and track and winning four races in a row in Europe in June.
“My next big target is the Oceania Championships in October. We have a super strong team and I’m looking forward to going head to head with the best Aussies. I’m hoping a strong performance there will put me in the frame for Junior World track team selection in 2020.”
Carswell comes from outstanding cycling pedigree with both mother Fiona and father Tim former Olympic cyclists.
Also showing great form on a record-breaking night were Masters riders Julie Graddon and Penny Pawson who broke national records as they prepare for next month’s UCI World Masters Championships in Manchester.
Graddon (Te Awamutu) clocked 40.245 in the 500m time trial in the 55-59 years age category to better her own national record of 41.261 set on March.
Pawson (Auckland, a former national representative, clocked 2:31.596 in the 2000m individual pursuit to improve her New Zealand record of 2:32.321 in the 45-49 years category.
Local cyclists made the most of the opportunity to race on home turf, collecting titles and trophies galore at the North Island and South Island School Road Championships and the North Island School Track Championships.
Over 230 riders took part in the South Island Road event, organised by Cycling Canterbury Schools at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch, competing in individual time trial, team time trial and road race events. The North Island Road event, organised by Red Events at Lake Karapiro, attracted over 600 riders contesting a team time trial, road race and criterium. Following on from that, the North Island Track event, presented by the Avanti Shop and organised by Cycling New Zealand, was held at Cambridge’s Avantidrome, attracting entries from Kaitaia to Wellington to contest individual and team titles.
Almost 300 intermediate and secondary schools affiliate to the Cycling New Zealand Schools programme and in 2018, over 3,570 of students took part in 11 events across cycling codes.
South Island Road
Christchurch Boys' High School enjoyed a successful outing, taking the Hayden Godfrey Challenge Cup for top school. Although collecting just one individual title, courtesy of Josh Rivett in the under-20 individual time trial, it was in the team events where they excelled, besting Timaru Boys' High for the under-20 title and Cobham Intermediate in the under-14 race. They placed second behind James Hargest in the under-16 event.
There were some outstanding individual performances throughout the weekend, including those from Subway Upper South Performance Hub riders, Henrietta Christie (Lincoln High), Jenna Borthwick (St Margarets) and Amelia Sykes (Avonside Girls) who won both the road race and individual time trial in their age grade.
Christie’s victories were decided in vastly differing circumstances, with a convincing 1min 42 second win in the road race, and a split-second win over SIT Southern Hub’s Emily Paterson (James Hargest) in the time trial.
This double individual success was also achieved by Mountainview High’s James Corry, Roncalli’s Jaxson Whyte, Rolleston College’s Nick Rush, Bluestone School’s Noah Hollamby and the under-13 pairing of Olli Aitken (Medbury) and Alice Barnes (Cust Area School). This is the second year in a row that Whyte has claimed the double.
North Island Road
Despite not securing any individual or team titles, Auckland’s Baradene College stormed away with the ‘Top Girls School’ award, amassing 207 points across road race, criterium and team events. It was a much tighter affair in the boys competition, with Cambridge High School edging St Peters Cambridge by a handful of points.
Auckland Performance Hub riders Ella Wyllie (Epsom Girls) and Prudence Fowler (Auckland Diocesan) were able to repeat their 2018 feats, taking the under-20 and under-17 girls titles from competitive fields in both races.
Fowler joined Ally Gothard (Epsom Girls), Blake Bailey (Cambridge High), Maui Morrison (Cambridge High), Ruby Spring (St Kentigerns), Mackenzie Barnett (Cambridge High), Caoillinn Gray (Cambridge Middle School) and Joshua Rowe (Cambridge Middle School) in collecting both road race and criterium titles for their age group.
In the team time trial, Auckland Grammar headed home Palmerston North Boys High School in the under-20 boys race, while Epsom Girls powered home 1m 16s ahead of second placed Baradene in the girls edition.
It was the same story in the under-16 girls with Epsom too strong for Baradene, while Cambridge High School got the better of Takapuna Grammar in the boys race.
In the intermediate racing, Palmerston North Intermediate took home the girls title and Cambridge Middle School the boys.
North Island Track
After a busy weekend at North Island Roads, 165 riders descended on the Avantidrome to compete for individual and team titles at the North Island Track Championships.
Local schools St Peters Cambridge and Cambridge High School were again locked in a ding-dong battle for the coveted ‘Top School’ awards, with Cambridge High emerging victorious in both boys and girls racing.
The Waipa Home of Champions Outstanding Rider trophies went to Grassroots Trust Waikato BoP Hub riders. Mya Anderson (Cambridge High), took home maximum points in the under-20 girls individual events and a win in the team sprint, while Hamish Coltman (St Peters Cambridge) collected wins in the under-17 boys keirin, points race and team pursuit.
Other stars to emerge included Cambridge High’s Gray sisters, Seana and Caoillinn who took out the under-15 and under-13 titles, and Jaxson Russell who took out the under-15 boys individual, team pursuit and team sprint titles.
Full results are available to view on the Cycling New Zealand Schools website at www.schoolscycling.nz.
The South Island Track Championships will be held in October in conjunction with the National Schools Track Championships at SIT Zero Fees Velodrome in Invercargill.
Prudence Fowler has established herself as one of the country’s leading age-group track and road cyclists.
This past Friday and Saturday, Prudence defended both her U17 time trial and road race titles at the Age Group Road National Championships in Pleasant Point, near Timaru.
But not without a taking a tumble when riding out in front on route to her 2-minute victory in the road race.
“I actually came off about 3km before the finish,” said the year 12 Diocesan School for Girls rider who is in her second year competing in the U17 age group.
“I had my head down and I was just really focusing and giving it everything because all I was thinking about was getting to the finish and I clipped the wheel of a rider finishing the masters race in front of me. It was just minor, but I had to get up and put my chain back on and keep going. Luckily I only lost about 30 seconds!”
But this was only a matter of weeks after another crash in the lead-up to the Age Group Track Nationals in Cambridge in early March that could have been much more serious.
“I was knocked off my bike by a car a week before the track nationals. A car pulled out in front of me and went over the bonnet.”
She was coming down a hill on a main road at an estimated 40kph, the car was coming out of a side street and cyclist and car collided.
“Thankfully I only broke my finger. I was a bit bashed up everywhere else but overall I was otherwise alright and I was able to compete in Cambridge.”
How did the finger injury affect her Track Nationals performance?
She finished second in the U17 Individual Pursuit and she won the U17 Points Race.
“But I came off my bike again in the 500m time trial – I was coming out of the gates to start and I put my foot out and because my finger was broken I wasn’t really gripping my bike well and I couldn’t save it and I went for a slide down the track.”
Last week she was selected in the New Zealand U19 team to compete at the Oceania Track Cycling Championships at Invercargill in October.
At this past weekend’s National Age Group Road National Championships she won both the female U17 races comfortably.
The event started on Friday with a 15km time trial on an out and back course.
“It was a pretty tough course because it was up hill and also into a headwind on the way out and then downhill and a tailwind on the way back.”
She won the time trial by 26 seconds to second placed Jenna Borthwick (St Margaret’s College, Christchurch), with Lucy Buckeridge (Takapuna Grammar School) third.
The road race on Saturday was a three-lap course totalling 63km, and Prudence made her move on the second lap – which wasn’t really part of the plan.
“The second hill was the steepest on the course and I came across the top of that hill and created a gap on the group of us riding together. I put the hammer down and created a bit of distance between us. There was still almost 30km to go so I just kept going thinking they will get me at some point but I kept going and I ended up riding the rest of that lap and the whole of the third lap by myself.”
Did Prudence know what gap she had opened up?
“At the start of the third lap the time car came past me and told me the difference was 49s. From there I decided to really put the hammer down.
Despite her mishap near the end she won comfortably. Charlotte Spurway (Rangi Ruru Girls’ School) was out on her own in finishing second, with Lucy Buckeridge third and Jenna Borthwick fourth.
Prudence, who is coached by 2008 Olympic Games men’s individual pursuit silver medallist Hayden Roulston, now has a short rest before setting her sights on a busy remainder of the year.
The schools cycling season kicks in shortly. North Island Track and Road Schools Championships are together in Cambridge in July and the Northern and Southern schools tours are early September and then the Schools Nationals are in late September in the Manawatu.
Prudence used to compete to a high level in other sports, namely swimming, triathlon, water polo and rowing, but now her focus is just on cycling where the future is promising.
Right: Finn Fisher-Black in action at the 2018 UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships.
A 12-strong team has been selected to represent New Zealand at the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Germany.
The team, with six females and six males – all endurance riders – will contest the five-day championships on 14-18 August to be staged in Frankfurt an der Oder on the border of eastern Germany and Poland.
Five riders will return from the team that picked up gold and silver medals in the team pursuit last year in Switzerland.
Leading the way will be the women’s team pursuit which will be able to draw on three riders from the quartet that won the silver medal in Switzerland in Samantha Donnelly (Christchurch), McKenzie Milne (Hamilton) and Ally Wollaston (Cambridge).
Also back are Nelson’s Finn Fisher-Black, part of the gold medal winning team pursuit and current individual pursuit world record holder, and Taupo’s Kiaan Watts, who won his qualifying scratch race last year.
Many of the first timers have earned their selection on the back of some outstanding form in the 2019 Vantage Elite and U19 National Championships held in Cambridge in February.
Southland’s Emily Paterson and Christchurch’s Laurence Pithie won 13 medals between them, five of them gold, while Conor Shearing (Southland) won the time trial and keirin. The Hamilton pair of Eva Parkinson and Oliva King picked up four medals each; Keegan Hornblow (Nelson) medalled in the scratch race and individual pursuit, the latter behind teammates Fisher-Black and Pithie; and Lachlan Dickson (Auckland) won the silver behind Watts in the scratch race.
“Overall we have a strong group returning from last year who will be key leaders for the first-year juniors coming into this environment,” said Cycling New Zealand’s Graeme Hunn.
“Both team pursuits have the potential to be medal contenders and obviously with the likes Finn Fisher-Black as a current world record holder, and Ally Wollaston who won five titles at the recent national championships, we will have some outstanding individuals as well.”
Hunn said while the development of endurance riders is encouraging, more work has to go in to develop young sprinters.
“We just did not have sprinters up to the standard to be considered for selection but we will be taking sprinters to the Oceania Championships and working both with our Subway Performance Hub coaches and our national sprint coach to focus on bringing through more sprinters.
“It may also be that we look at other types of athletes to consider as potential track cycling sprinters.”
New Zealand has a strong pedigree of success at the junior world championships, winning 70 per cent of their 79 medals won since 1976 in the last nine years.
Cycling New Zealand’s Subway Performance Hub programme is a key part in the development of junior cyclists with 10 of the 12 riders selected for the world championships currently part of the Hub network either from the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Hub, Grassroots Trust Waikato BOP Hub, Upper South Hub or SIT Southern Hub network.
The team is:
Females: Samantha Donnelly (Christchurch), Olivia King (Hamilton), McKenzie Milne (Hamilton), Eva Parkinson (Hamilton), Emily Paterson (Invercargill), Ally Wollaston (Hamilton).
Males: Lachlan Dickson (Auckland), Finn Fisher-Black (Nelson), Keegan Hornblow (Nelson), Laurence Pithie (Christchurch), Conor Shearing (Invercargill), Kiaan Watts (Taupo).
Head Coach: Tim Carswell.
Jenna Borthwick (St Margaret’s College) and Jack Carswell (St Peter’s, Cambridge) have ensured their week at the Vantage Age Group Track Championships was one to remember, picking up a further five national under 17 titles between them on the final day of competition in Cambridge.
Around 220 riders from around the country assembled at the Avantidrome to contest youth and masters age group titles over four days of competition, ending Sunday.
Canterbury 16-year-old Borthwick topped off an incredible competition by securing a further three titles on the final day, adding to the three won earlier in the week.
She and fellow Cantabrians Mikaela Grant, Charlotte Spurway and Amelia Sykes went into the Under-17 team pursuit final as underdogs, three and a half seconds slower in qualifying than the quartet from Southland.
In one of the races of the evening, Southland led the charge through the 1000m and 2000m marks, but the gritty Cantabrians produced a stunning final 1000m that saw them sneak past Southland by 0.75 seconds, an astonishing 7.4 seconds faster than their qualifying time.
Borthwick and Sykes then paired up in the team sprint, setting a new national record of 36.947s in qualifying, then going on to win gold in the evening session.
In her final outing of the competition, Borthwick was joined by Spurway in the Madison where the pairing worked in tandem to gain a lap on the field and secure maximum sprint points to blow away the competition.
“It was great to ride and race with my Canterbury teammates. I loved the team events, especially the Madison, and it’s been a really successful nationals for me,” said Borthwick.
Waikato-Bay of Plenty’s Jack Carswell also had a fantastic final day, picking up a new national record in the team sprint with Hamish Coltman and Zakk Patterson, before teaming up again with Patterson to take control in the under-17 Madison. The Waikato Bay of Plenty duo were in the mix for the entire 10km race, but took control at the halfway point by gaining a lap and going on to take maximum points in the final two sprints to hold off the Canterbury pairing.
In the under-15 grade, Seana Gray picked up gold in the points race, and teamed up with Mackenzie Barnett in the team sprint to make it a clean sweep of all under 15 girls events this week. It was an all Waikato Bay of Plenty affair in the under 15 boys grade as well with the pairing of Hamish Banks and Maui Morrison taking gold in the team sprint, before Banks went on to win the points race.
Carswell, Banks and Gray’s winning ways helped the Waikato Bay of Plenty Centre to top of the points standings, with the centre awarded the combined points shield for elite and age group track cycling.
Earlier, nine New Zealand and two Championship records fell on day one of the event.
Jenna Borthwick and Jack Carswell set the pace early on day one, breaking New Zealand records in the U17 2000m Individual Pursuit. In qualifying, Borthwick bettered the previous mark set by current Junior World Team Pursuit silver medallist McKenzie Milne, while Carswell sneaked past Laurence Pithie’s record by 0.147 seconds. Borthwick and Carswell both lowered their morning times to win gold in the evening finals, putting their fellow riders on notice for the rest of the week’s competition.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all, it was pretty amazing,” Borthwick said. “As a sprinter, this wasn’t an event I was targeting, I thought I’d just have a go and see how I went.”
Borthwick now holds a rare double: the under 17 flying 200m record and the 2000m individual pursuit, a feat which she describes as overwhelming, but one that makes her “pretty happy”.
Carswell went into the final looking to ride more consistently than he had in the morning.
“I was definitely hoping to get near the New Zealand record today as I put a lot of training in during the past few months. I didn’t stick to my schedule in the first race and that showed in my time, but I did a bit better in the final and it definitely worked out how I hoped it would, so I’m really happy.”
Carswell shook off being pipped for a podium finish in the scratch race to take two gold medals on the third day.
rode a smart points race, earning maximum points from three of four sprints, to hold off a fast finishing Kaio Lart for his third national title after collecting his second in the team pursuit as part of the Waikato Bay of Plenty White team earlier in the session.
The team of Carswell, Hamish Coltman, Matthew Davis, Zakk Patterson and Jaxson Russell threatened the national record but ultimately fell short, posting at time of 2:23.531 after overlapping the team from Southland.
In the under 17 girls racing, Canterbury’s Jenna Borthwick was again a stand out, lowering her own national record, clocking 11.932, the first time an under 17 female has broken the 12 second mark. Borthwick showed her class to win match sprints from both in front and behind, her complete dominance and marking her as one to watch.
Prudence Fowler (Waikato BOP) and Kaio Lart (Tasman) took the other two under 17 titles on day three, in the points race and 500m time trial respectively.
Fowler was part of a three-women breakaway with Jessica Spencer (Southland) and Charlotte Spurway (Canterbury) that formed a third of the way into the race and stayed until the end, with Fowler producing a sublime 100m effort, coming around the outside to best her opponents for the national title.
Lart was impressive in the 500m time trial, just missing out on the national record set in 2012 by Quinn Karwowski by 0.038 seconds. This is his second national title this week.
Jack Overweel (West Coast NI) and Seana Gray (Waikato BOP) were the pick of the under 15 riders, showcasing outstanding sprinting ability to take the boys and girls derby races. Gray has had an impressive week so far, already taking gold in the 500m time trial and scratch race.
Both the Junior World and New Zealand records for the Individual Pursuit were broken by St
Peter’s, Cambridge cyclist Finn Fisher-Black at the Vantage Elite and U19 Track National
New Zealand now holds both Junior Individual Pursuit world records, as former St Peter’s,
Cambridge student Ellesse Andrews set the women’s record at the World Championships in 2017.
The 17-year-old student set the New Zealand record of 3:08.815 in the 3000m Individual Pursuit on
Saturday, 9 th February. This race, however, he could not be considered for the official world record
without a UCI official in place.
But that didn’t matter for Finn as he set an official world record in the final – clocking 3:09.710 to win
On top of his records, Finn also placed third in the Open Men’s 40km Madison with riding partner
George Jackson and 5 th in the U19 Men’s Scratch Race.
This success follows his recent accomplishment of being named Secondary School Sportsman of
the Year at the 2018 Brian Perry Waikato Regional Sports Awards.
Finn is already a junior world champion in the Team Pursuit having won gold at Junior World Track
Cycling Championships in Switzerland in 2018.
He is part of the Grassroots Trust Waikato/Bay of Plenty Performance Hub in addition to road
riding with the Skoda Fruzio Team.
Another St Peter’s student, Reuben Webster, had an exceptional ride in the 1km Time Trial, placing
2nd and clocking a new personal best time of 1:04:023.
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