Cycling: Otago riders expected to feature at track champs

Otago's top rider is missing but the province will still have strong medal chances at the national track championships in Invercargill this week.

Double world champion Alison Shanks is taking a break to recover from a hip injury.

In her absence, Otago riders Katie Schofield and Alysha Keith will hope to shine and turn hours of hard training into medals.

Rising star Keith could medal in any or all of the events in which she rides, from the 500m time trial to individual pursuit, scratch and points races.

Schofield aims to retain her standing lap New Zealand title and may even better her record of 19.594sec.

Schofield, who has been training in Invercargill over the summer for proximity to the indoor track, also takes on all the sprint events, including the entertaining keirin. She and Keith will combine for the team sprint.

On the men's side, Brad Evans has turned his attention to track over the summer after finishing 20th in the Tour of Southland.

Evans and Patrick Jones, who hopes to equal or better his silver medal-performance in the scratch race last year, will eye medals and national selection. Both riders competed at the Oceania Games in Adelaide in November and have been in scorching form on the Seddon Park Velodrome in Mosgiel.

The team is complemented by former elite rowers Elyse Fraser and Kirstie James, who plan to post personal bests and build for the future. They will pair up for the team sprint and are joined by Keith in the women's 3000m team pursuit.

The championships start today and finish on Sunday. Age group and omnium national events will be held at the end of next month.

- Jan Brosnahan

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