Cambridge cyclists ready for action

Rushlee Buchanan, pictured after winning the Vantage Criterium National Championships in November, could have more reason to celebrate when she competes at the Oceania track championships next month. Photo – Scottie T Photography.

Cycling New Zealand recently named a 37-strong squad of elite and junior riders set to contest the Oceania Championships in Adelaide next month, including several Cambridge riders.

Former St Peter’s School students and Cambridge locals Ellesse Andrews and Rushlee Buchanan were named in the endurance squad, and Cambridge High School students Mya Anderson and Reuben Webster will compete on the junior team.

Now preparing for the big event on October 10-13, the competition will be the first chance for the young riders to obtain ranking points towards the World Championships and ultimately the Tokyo Olympics.

“Some of our track riders have been training hard both here in Cambridge and in some cases overseas and are itching to finally get on the track to compete,” said Cycling NZ high performance director Martin Barras. “This is an important summer ahead as we look to performances at the World Cups and World Championships, including a World Cup competition here in Cambridge which the entire high-performance group are excited about. They do not get to race in front of their family and friends very often, so that will be a real highlight of the summer for them.”

Also contributing towards their World Champ and Olympic rankings will be the 2019 UCI Track Cycling World Cup, being hosted here in Cambridge at the Avantidrome in January. Sell-out crowds are expected at the local venue, lining up to watch 300 of the world’s best track cyclists compete from January 18 – 20 next year.

The newly named New Zealand team will head to Adelaide next week for the Oceania competition, before several members of the team will compete in the French and Canadian rounds of the UCI Track World Cup later next month.

Cambridge also hosted the 2015 UCI Track Cycling World Cup, the first of its kind in New Zealand. Rushlee Buchanan described it as an “overwhelming” experience racing in front of her home crowd.

“Overwhelming in a good way to race in front of a home crowd, to be so proud of the Avantidrome and Cambridge,” she said recently. “I took a few friends from overseas on some road rides and they loved every second of our beautiful country.”

Buchanan added that she was “extremely proud” to have the world cup on her home turf once again. “You can see the best in the world racing literally meters from your eyes. Something is always happening and track racing is so dynamic and you’re guaranteed to see some past and future Olympic medallists.

“I get a little bit stuck up about it because I know Cambridge is the best World Cup in the world. I’ve been to a few and I can confidently say that!”

The UCI Track Cycling World Cup will also have competitive rounds in Canada, Germany, Britain, France and Hong Kong.

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