Mission Moscow: New Records and New Challenges for Junior Track Team

Racing is underway at the UCI Juniors Track World Championships at the Krylatskoe Velodrome in Moscow, a former Olympic track venue, with the participation of 176 men and 62 women from 35 countries. The competition began yesterday (Wednesday 17 August 2011) and runs until Sunday 21 August 2011.

The first goal for the SA Team is to “look, act and ride professionally during the Junior World Champs in 2011.”

This was achieved when a sleek and professional looking South African junior track team participated in the Team Pursuit, taking heed of all they had learnt during their training camps and week-long final training session in Pietermaritzburg before departing to Russia.

The Track Commission’s goal of attaining a sub 4-minute 40-second in this discipline of track cycling was achieved; their time of 4:36,6 is the fastest that a South African team has achieved in 20 years! The SA record of 4:36,25 was set in 1992 and although this record stands for the moment, it will not be for too long… “Marinus battled to get the wheel at the start but caught up in the second banking as usual – this happens in all the practice sessions yet he is our strongest rider,” said National Director for Transformation and Development Roger Bouton. The team’s change over’s were smooth with gaps being kept to a minimum, at times a little off, but this aspect of teamwork will improve with training, experience and confidence. The 1 kilometre times were 1.09.84, 1.09.567, 1.10,223, and 1.07.046 consecutively.

“Comments from the South African spectators in Moscow were that the team appeared strong and are convinced that they could push harder in the Team Pursuit,” Roger continued. “Had the lads known, I am sure they could have broken the SA record!”

Apparently they were cautioned by Dave (Street) to hold back with 2 km to go, and opened up on the last kilometre. This was our goal – to finish with four riders, look good and ride to our schedule. This the lads did.

“It is important to note that the current team consists of three first year juniors, whom have been able to perform so much better than we’ve been able to in the last 20 years. Rome was not built in a day, I am really proud of their time as we are addressing vision 2016 with the Team Pursuit one step at a time,” said Roger.

Australia won the Team Pursuit, setting a new world record of 4.02.632, with Russia coming second and New Zealand third.

The Team Sprint saw South Africa finish in a time of 1:04,425 – our expectation was set as a sub 1:05.00, with the three young men riding their first year in the junior age category. Their splits were 24.617, 20,121 and a blistering 19.687 from Kellan Gouveris, the seventh fastest last lap.

Although placed at the end of the field, by next year these lads will be competitive, judging by the balance of the times.

“Nathan rode well in the Scratch Race, and only experienced trouble when his saddle came loose,” continued an elated Roger. “This had not happened in our training camp and unfortunately Nathan was called off with four laps remaining. It’s great to report that he was in the bunch and looking comfortable – a super effort, bad luck on the technical.”

Today’s racing (Thursday 18 August) begins from 12h30 – 15h30 Moscow time (1 hour ahead of South Africa). First up is Jac Jan Steyn in the Qualifying heats for the Omnium, with Kellan Gouveris next in the 1km TT (18h00 – 22h15), where we hope to see Kellan achieve a sub 1:08,00.

SA Junior Track Team in Moscow:

Junior Men:
Cuan Holland – Team Sprint, Sprint, Keirin
Daniel Stroebel – Team Pursuit, Points Race
Jac Jan Steyn – Team Pursuit, Omnium
Kellan Goveris – Team Sprint, Team Pursuit, Sprint, Keirin, Time Trial
Marinus Prinsloo – Team Pursuit, Individual Pursuit
Nathan Cornelissen – Scratch Race
Shane Pheiffer – Team Sprint, (Reserve – Sprint), (Reserve – Keirin)

Junior Women:
Tannah Robinson – Scratch Race & Omnium

Coach/Manager: David Street
H.P./Coach/Mechanic: Ian Rodger