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Aussie cyclists wary of New Zealand and Russia

Aussie cyclists wary of New Zealand and Russia

The Australians are playing down any sort of Trans-Tasman rivalry heading into next week’s UCI Junior Track World Championships in Invercargill.

The Kiwi’s neighbours to the west will be focussing on what they can control in New Zealand, after touching down in Southland this week with a 14-strong cycling squad; including no less than four defending world champions.

“The New Zealanders always perform well at these events and particularly being in their home country, will be hard to beat,” said Australian team manager Rik Fulcher.

“We know they are going to be very strong and well-prepared, but we are focussed on doing the best we can at the time and the rest should take care of itself. We don’t tend to focus on what any other team is doing.”

Fulcher has labelled New Zealand and Russia as their fiercest competition at the UCI sanctioned championships, but remains confident the Aussies can produce world beating performances once again in 2012.

“We have high expectations of our athletes as always, because they all put in a huge amount of commitment and effort in order to get the rewards,” he said.

“Obviously things change, but we are certainly going into this event with very high hopes. We wouldn’t send these athletes if we didn’t think they were ready to compete at this level and have the ability to get the results.”

The Australian team have spent the last two weeks fine tuning their skills at the velodrome in Adelaide, AUS, and will be banking on a reduced travel time to help them secure an advantage over some of the European nations.

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“The New Zealand and Australian teams in the past have had to travel up to 30 hours away to a the warmer European climate for competition, but this time around it will be the Europeans who will have to adjust to all that,” said Fulcher.

He added that the under-19 event, which will run from August 22-26 at the Stadium Southland Velodrome, appeared to be well organised and supported.

“Entry numbers and ticket sales seem to be looking good so it’s shaping up to be a great event. They always support the sport of cycling well down here so I think it’s going to come together nicely.”

For more information about the event, visit www.juniorworlds2012.com.

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