The 4-8th of April. These are a big few days for us. These are the dates of the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships. This is the final event on the Olympic qualification calendar, which begun at the end of 2010. Since the qualification begun, we have sent sprint riders to 7 out of 8 World Cup events and both Continental Championships. We've gained four podium results at World Cups; three in the Team Sprint and one in the Keirin. At the Oceania Championships in 2011 we gained a string of seconds but in the 2012 Championships, we won every single sprint event. We are looking to end the season with a BANG!
With time, the Sprint team is finding traction and consistent improvements of the team's and individual's bests. The New Zealand team is sending a mens sprint squad consisting of five riders. The riders are as listed: Eddie Dawkins (Invercargill), Ethan Mitchell (Auckland), Matt Archibald (Invercargill), Sam Webster (Auckland) and Simon van Velthooven (Feilding). This is a team, with vast depth and will be the strongest mens sprint squad ever sent to a World Championships.
The team has qualified a Team Sprint for the championship while also earning the maximum amount of spots in the Sprint, Keirin and Kilo. These valuable spots will give all the riders an opportunity to put their best foot forward to vie for Olympic selection across the events. This is of the upmost importance as for the two individual event at the Olympic Games, (Sprint and Keirin) only one rider per nation is able to enter each competition.
These World Champs hold special significance to all the boys, as it is as close to a home Worlds we will have for a few years. With family and friends making the trip over the Melbourne, the Kiwi contingent and usual back straight rowdies from Invercargill will be there to cheer on the team and create a great atmosphere.
With only a few days left before our Friday departure, excitement is building!