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.
Palmerston North cyclists Campbell Stewart and Rangi Ruru Girls Sarah Mcleod were crowned champions when the New Zealand Schools Road Championships wrapped up sunny conditions at the Manfeild Auto Course Monday.
Unlike previous years the conditions were perfect for the riders throughout the weekend.
The focus shifted to points races at the famed Feilding motor sport circuit on Monday where again the conditions were perfect the cyclists.
Campbell (Palmerston North Boys High) worked hard in the 39km boys's under-20 points race, increasing his work load for the last two sprints to dominate the race.
Stewart has dominated the boys points race for the past 4 years winning his respective age group since 2012.
"It was a really tough ride today, but the atmosphere at this year’s nationals has been amazing, It is amazing to race with so many spectators and great to see how much support is given to the cycling community here in the Manawatu" Stewart said.
The 24km under-20 girls points race was a tight affair with local Michaela Drummond and Sarah Mcleod fighting to the end.
Winning the last sprint saw Mcloud coming out on top, and the victory was a great way to end the tough weekend of racing for McLeod who recognised the competitive level of cycling at this year’s event.
"It was really tough out there today with tough racing from all the girls, but I am really happy to walk away with the win and finish on a high after a great weekend away" she said.
Auckland Grammar Boys also took out the Under 17 and under 14 points races with Aaron Wyllie winning the under 17 race with 16 points, and Kiaan Oliver Grace winning the under 14 with 12 points.
The top boys’ school trophy went to Auckland Grammar while Palmerston North Girls High took away the girls’ trophy.
For the first time there was a prize for the top junior boys and girls school. Palmerston North Intermediate won the inaugural Chris Ginders Cup and Baradene College won the Marie Laycock Cup. These cups were put in place to acknowledge the large growth in junior riders.
Under 20 Boys :
Campbell STEWART (Palmerston North Boys High School 19 points,1; Connor BROWN (Saint Kentigern College) 13 points,2; Louis BROWN (Christchurch Boys High School) 10 points,3; Carne GROUBE (Palmerston North Boys High School) 10 points,4; Regan Gough (Central Hawke's Bay) 5 points,5.
Under 20 Girls:
Sarah MCLEOD (Rangi Ruru Girls' School) 9 points,1; Michaela DRUMMOND (Palmerston North Girls High School) 9 points, 2; Olivia RAY (Diocesan School for Girls) 7 points, 3; Bryony Botha (Rangitoto College) 6 points,4; David MARTIN (Palmerston North Boys High School)5 points, 5.
Under 17 Boys: Aaron WYLLIE (Auckland Grammar School) 16 points,1; Harris FOGELBERG (Auckland Grammar School) 7 points,2; Ben HAMILTON (Auckland Grammar School) 6 points, 3; Oscar ELWORTHY (Takapuna Grammar School) 6 points,4; William YOUNG (Auckland Grammar School) 3 points, 5.
Under 17 Girls: Georgia DANFORD (St Cuthbert's College) 20 points,1; Emily SHEARMAN (Palmerston North Girls High School) 9 points, 2; Grace MASTERSON (Epsom Girls Grammar) School 6 points, 3; Libby ARBUCKLE (Palmerston North Girls High School) 3 points, 4; Chloe JENKINS (Rangi Ruru Girls' School) 2 points,5.
Under 16 Boys : George JACKSON (Rongotai College) 18 points,1; Madi HARTLEY-BROWN (Palmerston North Boys High School) 7 points,2; Burnie MCGRATH (Hamilton Boys High School) 6 points,3; Timothy NG (Hamilton Boys High School) 5 points,4; Jamie LEITCH (Strathallan College) 3 points,5.
Under 16 Girls: Jessie CLARKE (St Peter's School Cambridge) 16 points,1; Jenna MERRICK (Baradene College) 7 points,2; Katie WHITE (Waikato Diocesan School For Girls) 5 points,3; Stella CALLAGHAN (St Mary's College Akld)5 points,4; Makayla MUHUNDAN (Massey High School) 3 points,5.
Under 15 Boys : Kiaan WATTS (Hamilton Boys High School) 15 points, 1; Dylan MCCULLOGH (Saint Kentigern College) 6 points, 2; Max TAYLOR (Palmerston North Boys High School) 4 points,3; Muller WILHELM (Macleans College) 3 points,4; Callum ERSKINE (Takapuna Grammar School) 2 points,5.
Under 15 Girls: Ally WOLLASTON (St Peter's School Cambridge) 15 points, 1; McKenzie MILNE (Waikato Diocesan School For Girls)9 points, 2; Renee YOUNG (Takapuna Grammar School) 4 points, 3; Ava MORROW (Rangi Ruru Girls' School) 2 points, 4; Greer HADDOCK (Baradene College) 1 point, 5.
Under 14 Boys: Kiaan Oliver GRAVE (Auckland Grammar School) 13 points,1; Luke RANSLEY (St Peter's College Akld) 11 Points, 2; Aidan MERRICK (St Peter's College Akld) 6 points, 3; Jordan RYAN-KIDD (Auckland Grammar School) 3 Points, 4; Kyle HOSKIN (Wanganui Collegiate), 5.
Under 14 Girls: Maddi DOUGLAS (Cambridge High School) 13 points,1; Nina SARDELICH (Cambridge High School) 5 points,2; Noya OPORTO (Westlake Girls High School) 4 points,3; Kate STODDART (Villa Maria College) 3 point, 4; Charlotte HAVILL (Waikato Diocesan School For Girls) 2 points, 5.
Under 13 Boys: Adam FRANCIS (Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School) 10 points, 1; Dossor FREDDIE (Scots College) 5 points, 2; Joshua TURNBULL (St Mark's Church School Mt Victoria) 4 points, 3; Dra's CALDWELL (Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School) 2 points, 4; Hamish COLTMAN (St Peter's School Cambridge) 1 point, 5.
Under 13 Girls: Prudence FOWLER (Baradene College) 8 points, 1; Rosie O'BRIEN (Opiki School) 8 points, 2; Aimee BLACKMORE (Baradene College) 3 points, 3; Christie MCCAHILL (Baradene College) 2 points, 4; Sacha MCLEOD (Southwell School) 1 point, 5.
Rangitoto College year 13 student Hannah Gumbley is one of six cyclists preparing to take on the world next month at the UCI World Junior Road Racing Championships in the USA.
Hannah, along with New Zealand team mates Georgia Catterick (Marlborough Girls’ College), Mikayla Harvey (Mt Aspiring College), Sam Dobbs (Hamilton Boys’ High School), James Fouche (St Kent’s, Auckland) and Robert Stannard (Palmerston North Boys’ High School), leaves for Richmond, Virginia in mid-September to race against the world’s best.
Amongst the girls, Georgia is competing in both the time trial and road race events, while Hannah and Mikayla will both also be in the road race.
Hannah explained the details of the road race. “The road race is 85 km and it’s a mass start,” she said. “The circuit’s 16 km with a couple of hills included and we do it five times.”
It’s not a team event as such, but Hannah explained that the three New Zealanders will look to work together to help each other out.
“I expect some pretty tough competition from the Europeans especially. They’ll have large teams of up to eight riders so they will be able to work together, making it quite difficult.”
This is the first time that Hannah is representing New Zealand at world championship level, but she recently enjoyed success in Australia.
At the Australian National Championships on the Gold Coast in July, Hannah beat Australia’s top young riders to be crowned the Australian U19 Girls Road Race champion.
“I went over there last year and I found the racing pretty tough and a step up from New Zealand racing, so I was always hoping to go back. I did okay in the time trial criterium [fifth], but it was in the road race where I won. I was a bit surprised to win, but it was a great result for me and I’ll be up against a couple of those girls again at the world champs.”
Also this year she finished third at the Club Road Nationals in the Hawke’s Bay, while Hannah and friends Bryony Botha and Briana Gunn combined for Rangitoto College to win the Points Trophy at the North Island School Cycling Championships.
“Next weekend [5/6 September] I’ll be competing in the New Zealand School Individual road racing championships in Auckland. The team event is also coming up in Palmerston North, but that’s when I’ll be at the world champs.”
Needless to say, much of Hannah’s time at the moment is taken up with training. “I do between 200-300 km a week and also go to the gym two-three times a week.”
“It’s definitely hard to balance training with school, so often I’ll train in the morning before school. So I will get up at 5 am and train and then have the afternoon to do school work – but it’s a challenge at times.”
Hannah’s bike is her most precious possession. “We’ll be taking our own bikes over to the world champs and it’s our own responsibility to make sure that our bikes are working and set up how we want them.”
She said that in part she got into cycling through family. “Not competitively, but both my parents have always ridden, and my cousin Josh England used to ride for New Zealand. I got into cycling at intermediate school and Bryony Botha and I started competitive cycling together then.”
Hannah thanked all the people who have helped her get to the world stage, including her parents and her coach, Lynn Murphy. “A lot of other people have also come forward and helped me out financially, and that is all very much appreciated.”
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