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Waikato talent ready to impress

Waikato talent ready to impress at the Avantidrome's first official event next week

Te Awamutu’s outdoor velodrome has been a massive stepping stone for developing local riders in the 23 strong Waikato track team competing in next week’s BikeNZ Elite & U19 Track National Championships coming from the area.

Waikato Team Manager for the BikeNZ Elite & U19 Track National Championships, Graham Bunn, says with so much talent representing Waikato, he’s hoping to see local athletes taking out national titles, standing on the podium and gaining selection for the Commonwealth Games.
According to Graham, there are many local riders to watch in the Elite and U19 categories.

“We’ve got two Commonwealth Games athletes; Rushlee Buchanan and Jaime Nielson. Both came back from Christchurch’s Road Nationals at the start of the year with wins; Rushlee with the Road Race title and Jaime with the Time Trial. It will be exciting to see them perform on the track in the Individual Pursuit, Scratch and Points races. They’ll also team up with Pip Sutton and Racquel Sheath for the Women’s Team Pursuit. I’d say they’re a real medal prospect.”

Elite men to watch who have the potential to finish on the podium are endurance riders; Paddy Bevin, Blair Treymane and Shem Rodger, all competing in the Scratch, Points & Madison events.

“Paddy Bevin moved here from Taupo to be part of the High Performance BikeNZ programme. Paddy and Shem Rodger did really well in Cambridge’s REV cycling event a couple of weeks ago, with Paddy taking out the title and defending champion Shem finishing fifth. They’re both international road riders and have won multiple national titles. Paddy, just 22 years old, won gold at a World Cup in the Madison with Tom Scully in January.

“There are a number of U19 sprinters who also have medal prospects; Amanda Rowe, Shannon Grinter and in the men’s Callum Saunders who did really well at the Youth Olympics in Sydney last year, picking up silvers in the Kerin, Team Sprint and Scratch Race.”

Many supporters are expected for the inaugural event, utilising the opportunity to check out the exceptional talent competing on the boards of the new Avantidrome.

Graham says that with so many local athletes competing for medals and national titles, he’s hoping to see spectators in the 1500 strong crowd, flying the Waikato colours and cheering them on as they compete against ten other regional teams.

“It would be great to see them showing their support with the Waikato colours - gear that you’d see at the rugby or netball. It would really add to the atmosphere, especially when Waikato takes on their stiffest competition, the powerhouses of Southland and Canterbury.

“If you’ve never been I’d encourage people who aren’t familiar with the sport to head along. You see what’s coming out of Cali from the World Champs and its colourful, everyone gets into it. It adds to the atmosphere of speed; colour, movement and constant athletic ability on display from those competing,” Graham says.

With adult tickets from $10, and kids from $5 it’s an affordable outing to see New Zealand’s top sporting talent on display.

For more information and tickets visit:
Tickets available now from:

Regional Teams Competing:
Northland| Auckland |Canterbury |East Coast NI |Mid South Canterbury |Otago |Southland |Tasman |Waikato / Bay of Plenty |Wellington |West Coast NI


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