Its not often you would see a BMX rider racing a road bike. It is even rarer that this would happen at an international level. However that is the concept that four New Zealand junior cyclists will take on when they compete in the Youth Olympic Games in August.
Singapore is hosting the first-ever Youth Olympic Games. Trent Woodcock (Auckland), Sam Shaw (Rotorua), Denay Cottam (New Plymouth) and Sarah Kate McDonald (Clyde), all under 19 cyclists have been selected to represent New Zealand. Each coming from different codes, they will combine forces to enter this unique and innovative relay-style competition.
Woodcock will compete in the BMX race, Shaw in a cross country mountain bike race, Cottam in an individual road time trial, and all three riders will come together to compete in the road race. McDonald, who has a mountain biking background, will have to transfer her cycling skills across the codes, racing not only a cross country race, but also BMX and a road time trial.
International competition is nothing new previous age group BMX World Champion, Trent Woodcock:
This would have to be the biggest thing that Ive ever done, especially as its the first time that the events been held. I think the only thing better would be going to the Olympics! Its a pretty proud thing to do, I know I would have everyone at home riding with me.
While it seems a bizarre concept, it is aimed at fostering team work and cohesion between the various cycling codes. The teams performance is based on the performance of each individual, their results being combined to result in one overall placing. For the five different cycling events raced, there is only one trio of medals to be awarded to the best teams.
In order to test the aptitudes of riders across the different codes a selection camp was held in Rotorua over the weekend a venue perfect to host the three codes. It saw a variety of coaches collaborate on this event, each getting the chance to learn more about the other codes. Working with the athletes was BikeNZs under 19 mens road coach Ken Bewley, BikeNZs assistant BMXs coach Ryan Hollows, New Zealand representative mountainbiker, Mark Leishman and BikeNZ selector Hamish Ferguson along with contributions from a variety of other individuals. John Lee, who coaches top cyclists such as Clinton Avery, will accompany the team to Singapore.
Shaws talents arent solely limited to the bike. Earlier this year he won the under 25 Xterra triathlon, qualifying for the Xterra Worlds in Hawaii.
Cottam has a road and track background. He took a break from cycling in 2009 to establish himself in his plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying apprenticeship, only reconnecting with competitive cycling at the beginning of this year.
McDonald is a mountainbiker but enjoys skiing, snowboarding, motorbiking and waterskiing. She has represented New Zealand on the road at the renowned Junior Canberra Tour.
The Youth Olympic Games run from the 14th 26th August. Singapore will host 3600 athletes between 14 and 18 years of age from all 205 National Olympic Committees. The athletes will compete in the 26 sports on the London 2012 Olympic Games programme. Alongside the competition, there will be a cultural education program for the athletes which will promote the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.
For more information:
021 552 021
Sarah van Boheemen
04 560 0336
021 599 103
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To find out more about the Youth Olympic Games please visit : www.olympic.org/youtholympicgames
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