2018 #OceaniaTrack Championships: Endurance Preview

A year ago, on a home track Australia grabbed nine gold to New Zealand’s three. Now with the situation reversed New Zealand will be hoping for a home track advantage.

Defending champion in the women’s scratch race Michaela Drummond (New Zealand) is the only rider who will be chasing back to back individual titles, meaning a host of new champions will be crowned in Cambridge.

Australia’s world champion team pursuiters Kelland O’Brien, Rohan Wight and Nicholas Yallouris will pull on the rainbow jersey as will Jordan Kerby in the individual pursuit.

With the Madison added to the Olympic programme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games expect to see the competition intense to be crowned Oceania Champion.

Scratch Race
2017 Champions
Men: Alex Porter (Australia)
Women: Michaela Drummond (New Zealand)

Michaela Drummond produced a stunning display to claim the only elite women’s title for New Zealand last year as a first year elite and will be looking to defend the title on her home track. The rising star will face strong competition from 2016 champion Lauren Perry (Australia), newly crowned New Zealand criterium champion Rushlee Buchanan (New Zealand), Kristina Clonan (Australia), Ellesse Andrews (New Zealand), Josie Talbot (Australia) and Racquel Sheath (New Zealand).

A junior world champion in the event Campbell Stewart (New Zealand) will be a name to keep a close eye on in the men’s with the 19-year-old making a strong step up to the elite ranks. Known as one of the fastest bunch finishes on the track and road Leigh Howard (Australia) will hope to unleash his turn of speed. Tom Sexton (New Zealand) and Cameron Scott (Australia) also have quick finishes and are likely to be in the mix.

Points Race
2017 Champions
Men: Sam Welsford (Australia)
Women: Georgia Baker (Australia)

New champions will be named in both the men’s and women’s races.

New Zealand Champion Rushlee Buchanan will be hoping to add Oceania gold from her national success earlier in the year. Teammates Racquel Sheath, Michaela Drummond and Kirstie James add to the potential New Zealand winners. 2015 Champion Macey Stewart (Australia) will be chasing a second title with Kristina Clonan and Josie Talbot other names to watch in the green and gold.

Bronze medallist from a year ago in Melbourne, Joshua Harrison (Australia) will be looking to step up to the top step this year though he will face strong competition from Jordan Kerby (Australia), Regan Gough (New Zealand), Kelland O’Brien (Australia) and Nicholas Kergozou (New Zealand).

2017 Champions
Men: Aaron Gate (New Zealand)
Women: Amy Cure (Australia)

Defending champion and former world champion Aaron Gate (New Zealand) will not line up in Cambridge, though the field will still have a world champion with 2009 winner Leigh Howard (Australia). Howard will not have things all his own way with former junior world champion Campbell Stewart (New Zealand) looking to stake his claim on the event as will former junior worlds medallists Rohan Wight (Australia) and Kelland O’Brien (Australia).

A new champion will also be crowned in the women’s as the field battles to take Amy Cure’s title from a year ago. New Zealand national champion Michaela Drummond finished top 10 at the World Championships in Hong Kong. Her own teammate and 2017 runner up Racquel Sheath could be her biggest challenger though 2015 junior world champion Macey Stewart (Australia) will also be a name to watch.

2017 Champions
Men: Kelland O’Brien & Callum Scotson (Australia)
Women: Amy Cure & Annette Edmondson (Australia)

Australia claimed the first ever women’s Madison title last year though with Amy Cure and Annette Edmondson not defending their title the field is wide open. New Zealand’s charge will be led by the strong Michaela Drummond, Racquel Sheath, Bryony Botha and Rushlee Buchanan with some young talent adding depth to the Kiwi pairings.

Two-time world champion Leigh Howard continues his track return and will be using the Madison to stake his claim on future Australian team selection with the rising star Cameron Scott. Expect to see the young guns shine as well with former junior world champion Kelland O’Brien back to defend his title. While on the New Zealand side Tom Sexton and Campbell Stewart will be a force to be reckoned with.

Individual Pursuit
2017 Champions
Men: Dylan Kennett (New Zealand)
Women: Ashlee Ankudinoff (Australia)

Having set the third fastest time in history at the World Championships in April, Jordan Kerby (Australia) will line up in his rainbow jersey for the first time looking to add the Oceania crown to his name. Don’t expect Kerby to have it all his own way with 2017 runner up Nicholas Kergozou eyeing the top step of the podium.

With 2017 gold and silver medallists Ashlee Ankudinoff and Jaime Nielsen not lining up this year a new champion will be crowned. Kirstie James (New Zealand) will be looking to improve on bronze from a year ago though she will face strong competition from Maeve Plouffe, Kristina Clonan and former junior world champion Lauren Perry.

Team Pursuit
2017 Champions
Men: Alex Porter, Kelland O’Brien, Callum Scotson, Rohan Wight & Nicholas Yallouris (Australia)
Women: Ashlee Ankudinoff, Georgia Baker, Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson & Alex Manly (Australia)

Australia and New Zealand have long been friendly rivals in the team pursuit. In the men’s Australia are the reigning world champions having set a near World Record time in Hong Kong with New Zealand having also pulled on rainbows. Three members of the winning team last year Kelland O’Brien, Rohan Wight and Nicholas Yallouris return to defend their title and with the addition of IP world champion Jordan Kerby, Cameron Scott and Leigh Howard they will have a strong line up.

The defending champions in the women’s Ashlee Ankudinoff, Georgia Baker, Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson & Alex Manly will not defend their title with Australia instead sending a development team. New Zealand claimed World Championship bronze at the World Championships and with Michaela Drummond, Bryony Botha, Kristie James, Racquel Sheath and Elyse Fraser they have a formidable line up.