Papanui High School riders too fast on the road

Shaylah Sayers’ stunning introduction to cycling has continued with the Papanui High School student completing another clean sweep in her first competitive outings on the road.

Fresh, remarkably, from her five gold medal haul at the national track cycling championships in Cambridge last month, the 13-year-old claimed the age group road race national championships under-15 time trial and road race double over Anzac weekend.

Fellow Papanui High School student Kirsty Watts also had plenty to celebrate in Hokitika with golds in the under-17 time trial and road race.

Sayers, who only joined Canterbury Track Cycling’s development programme last November now has an unprecedented eight national titles in her age group, an indication she has a promising career ahead of her.

Shaylah Sayers dominance of under-15 grade cycling in New Zealand has continued with road success...
Shaylah Sayers dominance of under-15 grade cycling in New Zealand has continued with road success in Hokitika following a dominant display at the national track cycling championships. Photo: Supplied
The keen mountain biker cruised to victory in Friday’s 15km time trial, clocking 29min 36.95sec, well clear of Southland’s Poppy McIvor (30min 17.92sec).

Sayers made light of the blustery conditions that impacted on the race against the clock.

“I actually quite like those conditions, it didn’t freak me out too much,” she said.

However, the duo had a tighter tussle in the road race, with Sayers, McIvor and Canterbury’s Jesse Thomson separated by a photo finish after they each timed 1hr 3min 25sec.

“That was really close. It was really good, there were quite a few attacks. Everyone was really on form,” Sayers said.

Kirsty Watts won the under-17 time trial and road race at the age group road race nationals in...
Kirsty Watts won the under-17 time trial and road race at the age group road race nationals in Hokitika. Photo: Supplied
“The sprint from the corner was longer than I thought it was, I just had to keep going.”

Watts recorded two comfortable triumphs in her events, she won the time trial in 26min 28.62sec, almost a minute clear of Counties Manukau’s Ava Maddison (27min 28.40sec).

She had the luxury of coasting to the line in the road race after powering clear to win by 47sec in a time of 1hr 57.01sec; Wellington’s Millie Donald was her closest challenger.

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