Young track talent on show in Subway series
Some of New Zealand’s burgeoning young track cyclists impressed in the first round of the new Subway National Track Series at Invercargill over the weekend.
The competition at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome was the first of three in the new Subway National Track Series with two further rounds to take place in July and August in Cambridge.
The Subway National Track Series was developed to provide both competition and learning opportunities for leading Under-17, Under-19 and Under-23 emerging riders, including riders from the Subway National Performance Hubs and riders in the New Zealand Junior team who will compete at the upcoming UCI Junior World Championships in Switzerland.
The intention of the Subway National Track series was to raise the tactical and technical capabilities of our young riders by providing more racing opportunities outside of existing track events and the pressure of national championships while also integrating educational coaching workshops.
“Based on the feedback we have had this weekend from riders, coaches, officials and parents we believe we achieved what we set out to do and are looking forward to taking on board the learnings and feedback from all those involved to make more improvements to ensure those riders who take part in round two continue to gain valuable experience,” said Jon Andrews, head coach of the Cycling New Zealand Grassroots Trust Waikato/BOP Performance Hub.
Racing was largely modelled on 'six day' style of racing with riders competing in individual and madison team events over three days. Events were also included for sprinters to give them more opportunities to hone their race craft.
Cycling New Zealand’s Athlete Development Lead Graeme Hunn said: “The highlight of the weekend was seeing riders experience a lot of dynamic style of racing where learning and experience are key over the pressure of results – this was a key objective of the series. The gains in confidence and skill level become evident as the event went on.”
Jenna Merrick, part of the team heading to the junior world championships and a member of the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Performance Hub, said: “The hard racing has been really rewarding and I have been challenged a lot this weekend but have also learnt a lot.”
Richard Lawson from Christchurch, a well-known road rider who has spent seven seasons racing on the roads in Europe, was new to track racing, but was encouraged to attend to also gain important insights into coaching practices as he looks ahead to coaching in the future.
Subway has been a sponsor of the Cycling New Zealand National Performance Hubs for the past two years with spokesperson Marissa Brennan saying the series is a great way to give back to youth athletes in the community.
“We’ve really seen our franchise partners getting behind the programme and cheering on local members of their communities. The National Performance Hubs have been a great way to help young riders develop their skills, and now, the Subway National Track Series will provide them with an opportunity to put these into practice; on a larger scale to what they’ve previously experienced.”
Round two will be held at the Avantidrome in Cambridge on 13-15 July and round three on 24-26 August.