Two of New Zealand's talented track cyclists, Shane Archbold and Aaron Gate will join the An Post - Sean Kelly road team in 2013. The former world cup omnium winner Archbold spent part of the 2012 season racing with Marco Polo Cycling Donckers Koffie while Gate was in the bronze medal winning team pursuit squad at the London Olympic Games.
The move to the Belgium-based team will allow Archbold and Gate to represent New Zealand at the 2013 UCI Track World Championships in Belarus during February and to debut with the An Post - Sean Kelly team in April.
"It's a great opportunity for Shane and Aaron to join a team with such a strong programme," said BikeNZ High Performance Director Mark Elliot.
"I think it also demonstrates that riding successfully on the track and having opportunities on the road are not mutually exclusive."
Before making the move to Belgium, Archbold is motivated to become the next world champion in the omnium and has also stated his desire to join Gate in the team pursuit. He knows it’s no easy task to make the final selection but with a number of riders stepping away from track, it presents an ideal time to give it a go.
"I want to go back to riding the team pursuit," Archbold told Cyclingnews. "I'd like to think I have a pretty good chance. There are a few spots which have opened up so I should have a pretty good shot."
"It’s going to work out really well next year. The team has allowed us to start our contracts from the start of April. I don’t have any other track commitments after the world championships so I’ll be able to fully concentrate on the road.
"I want to have a decent crack racing professionally on the road and An Post - Sean Kelly is s really good start. I’m super excited to be racing with them. Hopefully I get some results on the road as well as the track."
The agreement between the Continental team and BikeNZ will give the two Kiwi’s the opportunity to kick-start their season on the boards before concentrating solely on the road. It’s something which Archbold in particular says suits him perfectly.
"It’s going to be nice and warm at that time of year, as warm as Belgium gets," Archbold said jokingly. "Becoming world champion is one of my biggest goals and then being able to focus on the road works out perfectly."
"Aaron and I have been roommates for years and we get along pretty well and we will be staying at the An Post - Sean Kelly team house.
"The team has a really good programme. If I got to choose a country to race in it would be Belgium. An Post - Sean Kelly has a schedule which is ideal to what I want. They have a good mix of one-day races and tours."
For now Archbold is getting himself back into race condition after an end-of-season break. He’s training up for the demanding Tour of Southland where he’s promised to cut off his famous ‘mullet’ while raising money for the Child Cancer Foundation.