World Champion Corbin Strong will be one proud Southlander when he wears his rainbow jersey at home in this week’s Vantage Elite and Under-19 Track Cycling National Championships at Invercargill.
The 20-year-old, who won the Points Race title at the world championships in Germany almost 12 months ago, has had few opportunities to wear his coveted rainbow jersey during a Covid-hit last 12 months.
Strong is among the 131 riders to contest the Elite, Under-19 and Para Cycling competition at the SIT Zerofees Velodrome from Wednesday to Saturday.
“It is going to be exciting to be back where it all started, in front of friends and family who have supported me in my career so far. It is going to be a special moment for sure to wear the rainbow,” said Strong.
As a prelude to the championships, the Vantage Elite New Zealand Olympic women’s and men’s squads will have double time trials for the 4000m team pursuit on Tuesday afternoon and early evening.
“It is pretty cool to get an opportunity to see how fast we can go in the team pursuit. We are going pretty well at the moment. I am confident we can put a nice ride together which will be good for our confidence building towards Tokyo.
“We have been super-lucky in New Zealand over summer to get the road racing that we had with the Nationals, the Gravel & Tar, the Cycle Classic and the Tour of Southland. We have been the luckiest in the world over the last couple of months to get that sort of racing,
“We have come off that block of road racing in good shape which is a great platform to take on to the track, and it will be exciting to see what time both the men and the women can put together.”
The Tokyo squad will enjoy some much-needed race competition in the national championships which marks the completion of their last training block before their final preparation phase to the Olympics.
“The national championships are special for us. We all want to have the bragging rights for the next 12 months,” said Strong.
“The squad probably has the most depth ever and there are plenty of other riders with so much talent. Some of these bunch races could be harder than World Cup bunch races. It’s pretty cool we have that sort of depth of talent to keep all of us on our toes this week.”
The morning sessions run from 10am with finals, streamed live on Sky Sport Next YouTube, start at 5pm from Wednesday to Friday and 3pm on Saturday.