BikeNZ will look to develop its depth for the new Olympic track events at the third round of the UCI World Cup in Beijing starting tomorrow.
They have sent a seven-strong squad to Beijing before mounting a major campaign for the final round in Manchester next month.
The squad will look to secure valuable Olympic and world championship qualifying points and also concentrate on building depth and expertise in the women’s team pursuit and six-race omnium which have been added to the programme for London 2012.
Commonwealth Games medallists Alison shanks and Lauren Ellis remain in training at home, leaving Rushlee Buchanan (Te Awamutu), Kaytee Boyd (Waiuku) and Jaime Nielsen (Hamilton) to contest the women’s team pursuit in Beijing.
The coaching staff want to further develop their understanding and gain qualifying points in the omnium, the gruelling six-race event comprising the flying lap, elimination race, individual pursuit, scratch race, points race and time trial.
Christchurch’s Joanna Kiesanowski, the US-based professional with Team TIBCO, finished a creditable seventh in her first outing in the omnium in December’s World Cup in Colombia.
Kiesanowski, a seasoned professional on the road, is excited about this experience back on the track that resulted in a medal at the Commonwealth Games.
The omnium has sparked her enthusiasm despite its demanding nature.
“It’s hard, really hard. But I loved it at Cali. It is definitely an endurance event and it’s incredibly challenging. With the qualifying race that’s seven races in two days,” Kiesanowski said.
“I am still learning it but I find it really challenging.”
The event requires power and speed for the flying lap and time trial, endurance for the pursuit and also real cycling nous for the longer track events of the scratch race, points and elimination.
Invercargill 21 year old Tom Scully makes his World Cup return after his major crash and resulting surgery last year.
The brilliant young prospect has made a remarkable recovery and will take his first steps back when he also takes on the omnium and points race in a heavy schedule in Beijing.
Manawatu sprinter Simon van Velthooven, who competed in the prestigious professional keirin series in Japan last year, will compete in that discipline and the sprints to gain qualifying points.
BikeNZ is also blooding 21 year old female sprinter Nastasha Hansen in Beijing. The former Aucklander now based in Christchurch is the current national champion and podium placegetter at the Oceania championships.