Duyvesteyn keen to learn plenty

Kees Duyvesteyn checks his bikein preparation for his Tour of Southland debut tomorrow. Photo:...
Kees Duyvesteyn checks his bikein preparation for his Tour of Southland debut tomorrow. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Kees Duyvesteyn is done getting "smashed".

The 20-year-old promising Dunedin cyclist has produced some impressive performances this year.

He won the Tour of Timaru in August and collected the under-23 title in the recent Calder Stewart series.

It is a big turnaround from when he took up the sport five years ago and was struggling to make an impact.

Tomorrow, he takes on a new challenge when he makes his debut in the Tour of Southland.

It will be tough week and the young man is not expecting to do very well. He is, however, expecting to learn plenty.

"I just want to do whatever I can for the team  — whatever they need me to," Duyvesteyn said.

"Whether that is riding for a jersey or support another team member — I’m up for it.

"It is my first Tour so I’ve got a lot to learn."

He is riding for Creation Signs in a team featuring Aucklanders Roman van Uden and James Fouche.

Fouche came close to winning the under-23 crown last year but a puncture on the Coronet Peak stage cost him valuable time. One of the team goals is to get Fouche back into contention again.

Duyvesteyn was born in Dunedin but spent his early years in Central Otago. He returned to Dunedin with his family when he was about 8.

His brother, Bruce, was a cyclist and Duyvesteyn decided "to give it a crack" and got a mountain bike. That was not quick enough for him so he got a road bike and "really liked it".

His first competitive race was at the South Island secondary school championships when he was 15. It did not go that well.

"I got smashed. I was like 20th, I think."

His results gradually improved though. He was selected for the New Zealand under-19 road team for the Oceania Championships in 2016.It was in Bendigo, Australia, and he got "smashed" again.

"I wasn’t being coached professionally back then," Duyvesteyn said.

He started working with coach Patrick Harvey at the beginning of last year and Duyvesteyn is not getting smashed any more. Far from it, actually.

"Training five to six days a week just makes such a big difference than three or four here and there."

"I guess my really good run of form sort of started probably in September last year. That is when the hard work with Patrick started paying off.

"I got my first podium at the Calder Stewart race — I got second. Soon after that I raced in the [Lake] Taupo Cycle Challenge and got second there which was pretty amazing."

Duyvesteyn works as a sales assistant at Avantiplus in Dunedin. He is also studying accountancy at the University of Otago, so he has a hectic schedule ahead.

Happily, his exams fall either side of the Tour, but he will have to do some study in the evenings.

Ultimately, he would love to ride professionally. But that is a big goal and at the moment he is "trying to balance study and cycling while working in a bike shop".

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