22 Aug 2012

NZ team confident ahead of Junior Track cycling champs

6:29 am on 22 August 2012

The New Zealand cycling team believes months of preparation at home and abroad will pave the way for success when they compete in the UCI Junior Track World Championships on home turf in Invercargill starting today.

The under-19 New Zealand team will compete amongst 154 cyclists from 24 countries at the Stadium Southland Velodrome this week, in the hope of continuing the international success of the BikeNZ programme.

Auckland sprinter Paige Paterson is a solid medal prospect after a bronze medal ride at last year's Junior Track World Championships in Moscow.

She says it's a whole lot easier being at home in New Zealand this year, especially with all her relatives coming down to the event for support and she's aiming for a gold.

The 16-strong New Zealand team had their final training session at the track yesterday to shake out some nerves and keep the legs moving.

The team scored a record 10 medals in last year's breakout junior world championships in Moscow, with their last gold medal coming in 2009 when Olympian Sam Webster won three gold medals including the team sprint with London rider Ethan Mitchell.

The championships begin today with qualifying for the women's and men's team pursuit during the day, with the medals to be decided in the evening session along with the men's and women's team pursuit.

New Zealand has only hosted the event once before, 30 years ago in Wanganui.