BikeNZ announced its team for the UCI World Track Championships this week, naming a 16-rider squad after having a final camp in Invercargill.
A strong group of pursuit specialists will give the team its highest hopes for gold in Apeldoorn next week. Commonwealth Games gold medallist Alison Shanks will head up a promising women's pursuit team with Jaime Nielsen, Lauren Ellis and Kaytee Boyd.
RadioShack's young professionals Sam Bewley and Jesse Sergent will lead their country's men's pursuit team and will be joined by Marc Ryan and Peter Latham with newcomer Aaron Gate rounding out the team. The latter three were part of the silver-medal winning squad in the Manchester World Cup.
"The Manchester World Cup trio of Aaron Gate, Pete Latham and Marc Ryan have kicked on strongly while there’s been a huge commitment from Bewley and Sergent to fly home from Europe and produce the goods to make this team," said BikeNZ head coach Tim Carswell.
"It’s the same situation in the women where Alison, Lauren and Jaime have continued their progress since Manchester and Kaytee, who had a very strong Beijing World Cup, has really impressed over the last two months in particular."
22-year-old Shane Archbold will compete in the omnium while Tom Scully takes on the other endurance events, and Joanne Kiesanowski will compete in the women’s omnium.
On the sprint side are Eddie Dawkins, Sam Webster, Ethan Mitchell and Simon van Velthooven. "Overall it is a strong team but also young. The average age of the men is only 22 years," said Carswell.
"It’s an extremely important world championship with London only 16 months away and with crucial Olympic qualifications points on the line.
"We want to see an improvement in our world rankings across the board as we build towards London and it would be good to match our record haul of four medals from last year."
The unlucky riders to miss out are Beijing Olympian Wes Gough in the men’s squad, 2010 national road champion Rushlee Buchanan, Levin’s Gemma Dudley and Auckland’s Myron Simpson, all members of last year’s world championship team.
"It’s been the toughest selection job that we have ever had to make," said BikeNZ head coach Tim Carswell. "The good news is that there is such quality and depth in our squad now and that has resulted in massive competition for places which can only been good for our overall programme.
Men: Shane Archbold, Sam Bewley, Aaron Gate, Peter Latham, Marc Ryan, Jesse Sergent, Tom Scully, Edward Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell, Simon van Velthooven, Sam Webster.
Women: Kaytee Boyd, Lauren Ellis, Joanne Kiesanowski, Jaime Nielsen, Alison Shanks.