7 Jan 2015

Van Velthooven to make World Cup cycling return

1:38 pm on 7 January 2015

Olympic, Commonwealth Games and World Championship medallist Simon van Velthooven will make his return to international competition in the final UCI World Cup in Colombia this month.

Simon van Velthooven in action at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Simon van Velthooven in action at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Photo: Guy Swarbrick

Van Velthooven has been included in the five-strong sprint squad named today after trials at the Avantidrome in Cambridge to compete at altitude in Cali on January 16-18.

Team sprint world champions Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins have been rested after gaining significant qualifying points towards the Rio Olympics, so they can focus on preparations for February's world championships.

Van Velthooven will form part of a three-strong men's team along with promising teenagers Lewis Eccles and Zac Williams, as well as tackle both sprint and keirin competition.

Meanwhile London Olympian Natasha Hansen will make her return to international level after a two year absence, to join Katie Schofield in the women's sprint team.

National champion Steph McKenzie has been given time out to prepare towards the world championships after racing in every sprint event over the first two World Cups.

Cycling New Zealand sprint coach Anthony Peden says he is delighted with the form and depth of the riders.

He says they still have some other good young riders in behind the group so the future is exciting.

Peden says van Velthooven has shown the benefits of a prolonged period of focussed training and set a personal best time for a standing lap.

He says they now have some depth in the women's programme with a couple of young prospects under the current trio.

Peden expects solid times and performances from the development group in the World Cup in Cali.

The team will return to Cambridge for the Avanti National Track Championships on 29 January to 1 February which will double as the final trial before selection for the world championships.

The full New Zealand team for the World Cup in Cali is:

Men, Sprint: Lewis Eccles, Zac Williams, Simon van Velthooven

Endurance: Regan Gough, Luke Mudgway, Nic Kergozou, Myron Simpson, Cameron Karwowski

Women, Sprint: Katie Schofield, Natasha Hansen

Endurance: Racquel Sheath, Pip Sutton, Holly Edmondston, Bryony Botha, Kirstie James