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Sam Horgan and Paul Odlin from SUBWAY® Pro Cycling are New Zealand’s best medal hopefuls in the Oceania Road Championships kicking off in Queenstown tomorrow.
Horgan is fresh from winning the Silvester Motor Company Tour of Canterbury last weekend and breaking the Canterbury Time Trial Association 16 kilometre record. Odlin beat Horgan to win the elite National Time Trial title in January.
Former track world champ and General Manager of SUBWAY® Pro Cycling, Hayden Godfrey says he thinks both riders are in very good form and should seriously threaten the podium in the time trial and potentially the road race.
“They have both targeted this event, and the time trial especially, and with many of our other top riders overseas on professional team duty or preparing for the track world champs there is a great opportunity for them to get a medal,” he says.
Godfrey says he feels the two riders going head to head had helped push them both but could not pick who might win on the day.
The Kiwi riders will face a strong challenge from the 12 Australians in the elite ranks, which includes riders from UCI Pro Continental team Team Budget Forklifts, who have already won two races this year and are led by Shaun McCarthy.
There are strong numbers in the under-23 and under-19 fields where South Canterbury’s Jason Christie, runner-up in the time trial at the national championships, is likely to feature prominently.
Christie was sixth in the under-23 time trial at the world championships last year. He will face a tough challenge from current Omnium world champion Michael Freiberg (Jayco-AIS) and Campbell Flakemore (Genesys Wealth Advisors) who won the opening time trial of the New Zealand Cycle Classic earlier this year.
SUBWAY® Pro Cycling is also represented in the Under 19 field where Tayla Harrison is riding for the National Under 19 team. Harrison’s SUBWAY® Pro Cycling team mate Dylan Kennett was also selected but is taking a break from racing after a busy period with a view to building up to the junior world championships in late August.
Horgan and Odlin are being joined by SUBWAY® Pro Cycling’s Dillon Bennett and Nick Lovegrove for Sunday’s 153 kilometre road race.
The championships begin with the time trials tomorrow with the under-19 women (76.5km) and elite women (102km) road races on Saturday and the under-19 (102km) and both Under-23 and elite men(153km) races on Sunday.
The event holds even more significance this year as it has drawn a number of Australian cyclists to the resort town keen to earn valuable points for its athletes wanting to qualify for the Olympic Games in August.
Both the time trial and road race courses start and finish just out of Queenstown, at Nugget Point Resort, Arthurs Point. The region guarantees some magnificent images with the road race circuit being held on a 25 kilometre loop often used as backdrops for television commercials.