Pithie hopes hometown support will help to defend Criterium title

Road & Track

Double junior track cycling world champion Laurence Pithie will be hoping for plenty of hometown support when he defends his title at the Vantage Criterium National Championships in Christchurch this month.

Pithie prevailed last year around the inner-city course alongside the Avon River to snare the honours with plenty of support from his schoolmates and family.

He is excited to take on a strong field for this year’s Criterium Nationals set for Christchurch on Sunday 15 November.

Changes to the event include the addition of a separate Under-19 division, which has some irony for Pithie.

“If that was in place last year, at 17 I would have competed for the under-19 and would not have been able to win the elite title,” said Pithie. “I think adding the under-19 section will be great though.”

He believes different tactics will be required if he is to make it two in a row.

“Last year it wasn’t as deep because the track boys weren’t there but they will all be there this time. That will change how it will be raced,” said Pithie.

“Going in last year I was quite confident in my sprinting ability against the other riders but this year it will need to be more of a long-range attack because I can’t match those track boys in their top-end power.”

Most of the Vantage elite track team are expected to compete including the likes of current Points World Champion Corbin Strong, and former track world champions Aaron Gate, Jordan Kerby and Campbell Stewart.

“It is going to be a really high quality and super-fast race for super.

“Last year it was awesome being able to race with a home crowd, mates from school who would not usually watch cycling came along because it was in Christchurch. I had my family there and the cycling community were there in force too.

“If the sun is out it should be a great race and I am sure plenty of fans will turn up to support.”

Entries close at the weekend with the field to be announced early next week.

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