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
Follow the NZSS Road Cycling Nationals on the official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CyclingNZLSchools/
St Peter’s School, Cambridge, Year 13 cyclist Ellesse Andrews is now a world record holder.
Competing at the 2017 UCI Junior World Track Cycling Championships in Montichiari, Italy, this past weekend, Ellesse won a world title for the second year running.
After winning gold in the Team Sprint (with Emma Cummings) and bronze in the 2km Individual Pursuit in Switzerland in 2016, Ellesse stepped it up another notch this year, smashing the 2km Individual Pursuit world record by four seconds.
Her superb performance in qualifying upset the local Italian facourite in an extremely close ride. Her winning time of 2:18.080 was comfortably inside the previous world record set recently on the same track at the European Championships.
In the final she pulled out more than half a second to beat Italian Letiza Paternoster to win the title, her fourth world championship medal.
New Zealand teammate Nicole Shields from Dunstan High School in Central Otago finished fourth.
Ellesse also competed in four rounds of the Keirin, an event that involves being paced by a motor bike on the velodrome for three laps before it pulls out for an all-out two-lap sprint off to the finish.
In a six-rider final, stacked with sprinters, Ellesse crossed the line in fifth place.
This rounds off a very successful week of racing for Ellesse, who along with team mates Nicole Shields, Katie Smith and Emily Sharman also won silver for New Zealand in the 4km Team Pursuit.
Read our previous interviews with Ellesse Andrews:
Wanaka cyclist Ellesse Andrews setting new standards on the track (March 2015)
Ellesse Andrews riding a wave of success (October 2016)
There’s rarely a dull moment for Hawera High School’s Brooke Fevre, who is busy juggling her two sports of rugby and BMX racing.
One she started doing because of injury, the other carries a high risk of injury.
“I started rugby refereeing in 2016, after I got concussed and also injured my neck and had to stop playing, said Brooke who is year 13 at Hawera High School.
“BMX racing is a really competitive sport and everyone wants that finals spot, so crashes and the potential for injuries are part of it. Luckily I haven’t had any serious injuries, just a few scrapes and crashes that haven’t been too serious.”
She is the only girls rugby referee in the Taranaki region, and hopes to continue with the whistle in to the future.
She is a nationally ranked BMX racer and it has taken her all over the world.
“I have been to world championships, so that has been a great experience being able to represent New Zealand overseas and race my bike.”
“I have made it to the semi-finals. In the World Championships in England in 2012 I crashed in my semi, when they were in Auckland I missed out on the final by one point and then when they were in Adelaide I made it to the quarter-finals and then crashed as well!”
In the National BMX Championships in April Brooke finished eighth out of about 30 riders in the 17-29 female division. The only other current schoolgirl was Jordan Donaldson who goes to Hobsonville Point High School in Auckland.
She trains at home in Hawera and up in New Plymouth on a regular basis. The North Island Championships in Whangarei are coming up later in the year so that is the next big event on the BMX calendar.
BMX racing is an Olympic sport and has grown in popularity around the world. New Zealand’s Sarah Walker won silver at the London Olympics in 2012 and is a former world champion and Brooke has raced against her.
Brooke has a strong family connection in both sports.
““I started BMX racing when I was four. My whole family on mum’s side do it. My uncle is a world champion and my granddad is the President of the Hawera BMX Club, so they have kind of brought me through the sport.
Brooke’s father is Craig Fevre, former Taranaki halfback and current co-coach of Taranaki club team Stratford-Eltham who finished fifth in Taranaki Premier rugby this year.
“I have other rugby connections. My second cousin is Black Ferns halfback Kendra Cocksedge and we are slightly related to the Barrett brothers – so my family love our rugby.
“When I used to play I was a halfback as well, so Kendra used to give me some tips and advice.
“Now I am concentrating on refereeing. I would love to travel the world as a referee and referee at a high level of women’s rugby. I am always working hard to be better and if opportunities pop up then I will take them!”
Included in the 29-strong New Zealand team to contest the UCI World Mountain Biking Championships in Cairns from 5-10 September is a group of secondary school riders in the junior races.
Western Heights High School rider Taylor Johnston has been selected in the New Zealand U19 Men’s cross country team and knows what to expect with the riders he will be up against, having recently returned from several weeks in Europe competing against many of the world’s top junior riders.
“The National Performance Hub team travelled over there and the juniors did four races, which were a great experience to be part of against all the top riders,” Taylor told College Sport Media.
The team started in London, moved on to Austria, then to Germany, and their last race was in Switzerland. “Two of them were junior world series races. “My best placing was 10th and the others I was in the top 30.”
The junior boys cross country team that travelled to Europe was Taylor, Eden Cruise from St Patrick’s College, Wellington, and Jack Wilson from Tauranga Boys’ College. They were joined by junior girls Jess Manchester from Howick College and Liv Bishop from Marlborough Girls' College.
The UCI World Championships in Cairns in September is what Taylor has been building towards. “It’s been one of my big goals, for sure. This season my focus has been on trying to get in the team for the World Championships and so I’m pretty pleased to be going.”
The Year 13 rider will spend the next two months training near home in Rotorua. “I will also look to compete in some races coming up to keep race-fit and help prepare for the World Champs.”
Prior to his recent trip to Europe, Taylor had a successful summer of cross country racing in New Zealand.
He finished second in the U19 New Zealand mountain bike cross country championship at the national championships near Wanaka, behind winner recent teammate in Europe Eden Cruise. “That was a good race, I was riding a lot with Cam Jones [Waimea College, two-day Coast to Coast winner] in that race and I was pretty lucky to get into second in the end.”
Before that Taylor finished sixth in the U19 division in a World Junior Series race, and 10th in an Australian national series race in New South Wales.
He also won the junior title in the two-round Nduro Summer Cup held in Palmerston North and at home in Rotorua.
Since last December, Taylor has been a member of Cycling New Zealand's Mountain Bike National Performance Hub, which is also based in Rotorua. The Hub has regular training camps and provides training programmes and support for the riders involved. Taylor is out there riding most days and also in the gym a few times a week.
As well as growing up and living in Rotorua with the Whakawerawera forest as his stomping ground, Taylor has no shortage of family support.
“My dad got most of my family into it; this is my fourth year riding competitively.” Neither is Taylor the first in his family to ride for New Zealand. “I have got an older brother and older sister who have also been over to race world champs and world cups. My sister in her first campaign about five years ago got a third and a first in a world cup in America.”
He also thanks others for ongoing support including the 4ever Racing team.
Cycling is Taylor’s sole sporting focus. Next year he is looking at university/study but he’s keen to carry on mountain biking and see where it takes him.
Eden Cruise was born to be active. His father competed in triathlons and Cruise was pounding the pavements at a tender age.
Running around and around was never stimulating enough for Cruise who at the age of nine decided to take up Iron Man. When Iron Man proved too arduous mountain biking became an adored and successful substitute.
In his first Karapoti Classic in 2009, Cruise completed the 50km course in three hours and 35 minutes becoming the youngest person to complete New Zealand’s oldest Mountain Bike race. Six years later Cruise won the entire event aged 15, beating the record of Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anton Cooper by a year.
The Upper Hutt based event has a special place in Cruise’s heart and proved to be a catalyst for greater things.
“It’s a unique old school race. There is a steep, rocky, loose part, then the rock garden which is two kilometres of straight rock before the devil’s stair case at Dopers Hill which reaches 531-metres at its highest point. It’s a great race against great competition,” Cruise acclaims.
Since 2011, Cruise has kicked onto win seven consecutive National titles and three Oceania Championships. His most recent success was last weekend at the National Championships in Wanaka where he captured the National Under-19 title, backing up his success from 2016. The course presented and the cool weather presented a fierce challenge.
“It was about eight degrees on race day which was quite cold compared to normal. Our ‘call up’ to the race grid was roughly ten minutes before the starters gun which allowed us to cool down – this is the opposite of what we needed – so the first lap was almost like a warm up lap. From the gun the legs felt heavy and it took me a lap to get a good feeling in my legs, due to the temperature,” Cruise reveals.
The course itself was demanding.
“The course was above altitude so that had an effect on the lungs and added unusual challenges. It started with a typical hill climb which lasted about seven minutes, followed by a technical decent which consisted of steep, loose corners and rock. After this the track had a little pinch climb and zigzagged across a stream before the downhill sprint to the finish, ” Cruise says.
Cruise managed to get the lead on the second lap and foil the challenge of Taylor Johnston from Rotorua.
“Taylor has been a competitor for a few years now and he’s been riding well over the past few years which is cool to see, especially because he is a team mate of mine too. I had to work hard for the win,” Cruise recalls.
There is plenty of hard work in store for Cruise for the remainder of 2016. The 17 year old had lofty ambitions.
“In just under two weeks I am off to the Oceania Champs which will be tough competition against five Aussies in particular. Later in the year I make my first international tour with the New Zealand MTB Hub squad where we will visit numerous places in Europe during May and June. After this I come back in to the country for more training followed by another trip over to the USA and Canada for junior World Series races. My main goal is to get a podium at the World Champs in Cairns, Australia, on September 1st.”
Cruise is sponsored by Torpedo 7 and Trek Bikes.
The St Peter’s School Cycling Academy enjoyed a successful weekend at the NISS Road and Track Championships at nearby Karapiro and the Avantidrome, Cambridge.
On Saturday, Holly Blakely took out the gold medal in the U20 Road Race, Ally Wollaston Bronze in the U16 Road Race and Archie Martin snuck in for Bronze with a great sprint finish in the U16 Road Race.
Sunday saw more medals on the road with Holly Blakely Silver in the U20 Criterium, Ally Wollaston Gold in the U16 Criterium.
The St Peter’s U20 Girls Team Time Trial won silver, 6 seconds behind St Kentigern College. The team of Ally Wollaston, Holly Blakely, Phoebe Young, Lindz Haggart and Rose Dillon will be looking to close that gap before the New Zealand Secondary Schools Road Nationals in the Manawatu in September.
On the track on Monday, the St Peter’s riders excelled, with Ally Wollaston topping the table with five gold medal rides in the U20 Team Pursuit (along with Holly Blakely, Sammi Ogle and Lindz Haggart), the U16 individual Elimination, Scratch, Points Races and U17 Team Scratch Race with Sammi Ogle.
Holly Blakely won her individual track medals in the U20 Elimination (Silver) and Scratch and Points Races (Bronze).
Sammi Ogle backed up her team medals with two Golds in the U17 Scratch and Points Races and a Silver in the Elimination Race.
Lindz Haggart finished the U17 Scratch race with a silver and Holly Rowan-Sanders, two bronze’s in the U14 Scratch and Elimination Races.
Their U20 Boys rode strongly to take Silver in the Team Pursuit Track race with riders Archie Martin, Fletcher Pearson-Riley, Jacob Coltman and Jamal Roberton. Three of these boys were riding up a couple of age groups so an outstanding result.
The consistently outstanding results from St Peter’s Cycling Academy Female Riders on the track earnt them the Top Female School Trophy for the NISS Championships.
Best Overall Schools Road Race & Criterium Races - Ngaruawahia Lions Club Points Trophy Winners:
Boys: Palmerston North Boys’ High School
Girls: Waikato Diocesan School
Track Championships Outstanding Male Cyclist of the Year
Aaron Wyllie, Auckland Grammar School
Track Championships Outstanding Female Cyclist of the year
Georgia Danford, St Cuthbert’s College
Best Overall Track School Boys points Trophy
1st Auckland Grammar School
Best Overall Track School Girls Points Trophy
1st St Peters School, Cambridge
View all the results at: http://www.redeventsnz.com/#!2016-results/m8uzh
University of Waikato student and Hillary scholar Nina Wollaston is pushing the boundaries of women’s cycling.
The former Auckland local made the move to the Waikato to study a Bachelor of Management Studies at the University while pursuing a sporting career in track cycling.
Inspired by New Zealand’s top female cyclists, including Sarah Ulmer and Alison Shanks, moving to Hamilton to pursue her dream wasn’t a hard decision given the world-class Avantidrome in Cambridge is only a short drive away.
Nina has a host of age-group and elite national titles to her name, including a bronze medal from the Junior World Track Champs. She’s aiming for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo to make her mark, and wants to be an influence on younger riders.
She says her pursuit of studying and training wouldn’t be possible without the help of the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship.
“This scholarship has given me the resources and time to be able to combine full-time study and training to the best of my abilities. I haven’t had to sacrifice either of the two, which has been greatly beneficial to my achievements and success to date.
“I’m very grateful for the support through busy schedule times that has helped me keep organised and on track.”
Through the programme, students receive personalised academic support, leading coaching or tutoring, leadership development and a scholarship worth up to $10,000 a year.
Applications for the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship, as well as many other scholarships, are now open. For more information and to apply visit Waikato Scholarships
Mountain Bike New Zealand held the Cross Country National Champs today, with top athletes competing in the Elite, U23 and U19 divisions.
Full results for the U19 division below:
1 - Eden Cruise - 01:12:36
2 - Jack Wilson - 01:13:34
3 - Cameron Richards - 01:15:07
4 - Taylor Johnston - 01:16:06
5 - Daniel Holt-Pedersen - 01:16:48
6 - Tristan Haycock - 01:17:30
7 - Robbie Bradshaw - 01:17:37
8 - Ben Eagle - 01:18:16
9 - James Kirkham - 01:20:49
10 - Fletcher Sharman - 01:22:20
11 - George Payne - 01:23:43
12 - Philip Knubley - 01:26:22
13 - Max Cadzow - 01:30:09
U19 Woman (3 Laps)
1 - Jessica Manchester - 01:04:15
2 - Liv Bishop - 01:12:25
Corbin Strong and Madeleine Gough each won five gold medals at the National age group cycling championships. The pair are Invercargill born and raised with the former attending Southland Boys’ High School.
The Invercargill Velodrome was New Zealand’s first indoor cycling facility and that coupled with Strong’s family background in the sport has had a profound effect on his success.
“I started cycling because I was inspired by watching my brother Andrew. He won National titles. Mum and Dad are enthusiasts as well,” Strong says.
Strong is coached by Sid Cumming another pivotal figure.
“Sid has been around for ages. He is a bit of a local legend. I owe him a lot,” Strong admits.
Strong’s major breakthrough occurred at the 2013 Nationals where he won a silver medal. That result was a catalyst to increase his training to nearly 20 hours a week.
“I was surprised by that 2013 result. It made me more determined to win gold the following year.”
Strong claimed his first National title in 2014 and added to his tally in 2015. In 2016 Strong has set firm goals and is well on track to achieve them.
“My major goal is make the New Zealand under-19 team. I am only 17, but I would love to test myself at that level,” Strong explains.
On his home track, Strong asserted that goal is well within reach. He won the individual pursuit, time trial, points race, team pursuit and team sprint titles.
The pick of the performances for Strong was the individual pursuit, where he set a national record in qualifying for the final and beat teammate Hamish Keith by a second in the decider.
In addition to his individual titles the combined Southland elite and age group teams retained the ACA Points Shield for a record ninth consecutive year. The shield is contested at the Elites and Under-19 National Track Championship and at the Age Groups.
Strong is preparing for the National Road Race championships in April with the under-19 squad named in “a couple of months.”
Strong who is a Year 13 says his favourite cyclist is local hero Eddie Dawkins who won a Commonwealth silver medal in the time trial in 2010.
Rangitoto College’s Bryony Botha has had a stellar year in the saddle. In August she was part of the New Zealand quartet that won gold and broke the world team pursuit record at the Junior World Track Cycling Championships in Kazakhstan. The Year 13 student returned home to win the NZSS Girls U20 Road Race title in Manawatu in September, after also winning the North Island title. Back in January she had made her elite international track cycling debut at the UCI World Cup in Columbia. Earlier this month she won the North Harbour Junior Sports Women of the year award.
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