BikeNZ will send Alison Shanks, Hayden Roulston and Hayden Godfrey to the UCI World Track Cup in Ballerup, near Copenhagen next weekend, to keep their Beijing Olympic hopes alive.
New Zealand has qualified the men's team and individual pursuit and points race for the world championships. However they need further strong performances next weekend to qualify the men's Madison and scratch race to secure a spot at next month's world championships in Manchester. The world championships will be the final selection process for the Beijing Olympics.
Godfrey will ride the scratch race and team up with Roulston in the Madison. Roulston's usual partner Greg Henderson will not compete after suffering a gallbladder ailment after the recent Tour Down Under last month.
"Greg was admitted to hospital at his US training base in Boulder but is fine now and on the road to recovery," BikeNZ High Performance Director Mark Elliott said. "He has sufficient qualifying points to make it to the world championships in the points race where he will need a top performance to qualify for Beijing.
"We are hoping that Hayden Godfrey and Hayden Roulston can pick up some useful points in Denmark to make sure the Madison also qualifies for the world championships," said Elliott. "At the moment it's all about getting enough points across our top three riders to ensure we can make the first step to the Worlds in Manchester and then follow it through to Beijing."
Shanks was on track to qualify for the world championships in the women's individual pursuit after she placed in World Cups sixth in Sydney and ninth in Beijing, but then a crash sidelined her with a broken collarbone. She recovered and competed in the recent national road championships but will probably need to qualify for the medal ride-off in Denmark to secure her place at the Worlds and keep her Olympic dream alive. Shanks is currently ranked 14th in the world.
"The crash has set Alison back because she would have already sewn up her place for Manchester, and possibly even for the Olympics," said Elliott.
Speaking of the challenge of track cycling, Elliott said, "It's a tough ask for our leading cyclists. There's talk in other endurance sports that they have to peak twice in a year, but our riders have to peak four or five times in the space of nine months."
New Zealand National Team for the UCI World Cup in Denmark: Alison Shanks (individual pursuit), Hayden Godfrey (Madison and scratch race), Hayden Roulston (Madison) under coaches William Rastrick and Craig Palmer.