Team Skoda Racing New Zealand Elite Cycling Team
Team Skoda Racing – one of New Zealand’s leading elite and development cycling teams is set for their seventh season and have bought together an impressive squad of leading and up and coming riders.
The team have had a stand out 2016/2017 season with 10 riders representing New Zealand, four riders heading to the World Championships and team riders claiming all five junior men’s titles at the New Zealand Age Group Nationals on the road.
For the 2017/2018 season, the team run by Brad Tilby and Scott Fairbairn will take forward sixteen riders with the focus being on rider development. Tilby says, “The past year has really showed the worth in the programme. We saw team alumni, Paddy Bevin head to the Tour de France and two other riders go on to international teams. For the next season, we believe we have a squad not only capable of winning in New Zealand but going onto much higher honours on the world stage”.
Leading the line-up will be returning riders Joel Yates, Alex West, Connor Brown, Max Jones and Chris Denholm. All riders have competed overseas over the winter with Alex racing for the New Zealand Team at the U23 Giro in Italy. Joining the U23 line up will be Bradley Leitch and Jack Compton. Leitch joins the team as another member from the U23 New Zealand Team while Compton comes on board after a successful international season on the mountain bike where he represented New Zealand at the World Championships in Cairns.
Within the Under 19 line-up, the team have a wealth of talent with Harry Waine, Ben Hamilton and Oscar Elworthy representing New Zealand at the World Championships. Waine was a member of the Team Pursuit on the track that claimed a Bronze medal at the Junior World Championships in Italy, while U19 Road Champion; Hamilton and U19 Time Trial Champion; Elworthy will head to Bergen, Norway to partake in the World Championships at the end of September.
The team also bring forward a further four first year U19 riders with Daniel Reid and George Jackson returning while the team adds Corbin Strong and Jayden Kuijpers. Strong previously rode for the team at the Mersey Valley Tour where he gained a stage win before heading to the Track World Championships where he gained a bronze medal in the Team Pursuit along with Waine.
Team Skoda Racing will also have the best up and coming talent with Finn Black and Josh Kench stepping up to the U19 grade after having extremely successful U17 performances. Finn Black is the current U17 Road, TT and Criterium Champion while Josh won the Goulburn Valley Tour in Australia and claimed second at the age group nationals.
The team continues its strong partnership with Skoda as the principale sponsor and will be seen at all the races in the latest Skoda Octavia RS and the amazing Skoda Superb. Skoda is synonymous with cycling globally and their efforts locally to grow the sport has seen the wider Team Skoda programme swell to over 2000 riders. Greg Leet, Skoda New Zealand General Manager says, “Skoda New Zealand is committed to seeing more kiwis succeed on the international stage. Team Skoda Racing is a partnership we see as vital to continuing the growth in cycling and youth development”.
The team will be on board the latest equipment and gear from Trek Bicycles, Torpedo7, CCN Clothing, DT Swiss wheels, Shimano components, Kitbrix bags, Vittoria tyres, Bontrager helmets and accessories. In addition, the team welcome New Zealand brands Pure Nutrition, Revbox, SBA Accounting, and Ilabb clothing who are joining the stable of current partnerships of Biomaxa lubricants and cleaners, Whipit IP Specialists, Ballina Motel and Apex Insurance.
Team co-owner, Scott Fairbairn says, “We are exceptionally lucky to have pulled together some of the biggest brands in cycling and it is great they too see the worth in the set up. Having international brands such as Skoda, CCN, Trek, DT Swiss and Shimano on board has enabled us to offer the riders world class equipment to compete on. We have also very excited to work with some of New Zealand’s biggest and emerging brands. Torpedo7 has been a game changer for us, while for 2017/2018 we have partnered with some really exciting up and coming brands such as Ilabb Clothing, Pure Nutrition and Revbox. These brands have great stories and we are proud to be part of their growth strategies”.
The Team have a full calendar for the next year. Tilby says, “The aim remains the same, rider development remains at the core of what we do. We have tweaked our race program for 2017/2018 to make sure we are giving our riders the right amount of hard racing while giving them international exposure. We will compete in both of New Zealand’s major tours; the Tour of Southland and the New Zealand Cycling Classic while also racing the regional Calder Stewart Series and the Dynamo Series in the Waikato. The team will also travel to Napier for the Elite Nationals and the Age Group Nationals in the Wairarapa. We will incorporate an Australian racing program and will target several National Road Series Races and Australia’s leading junior tour, the Mersey Valley Tour”.
2017/2018 Team Skoda Racing Squad
Connor Brown, Finn Black, Jack Compton, Chris Denholm, Oscar Elworthy, Ben Hamilton, George Jackson, Max Jones, Jayden Kuijpers, Josh Kench, Bradley Leitch, Daniel Reid, Corbin Strong, Harry Waine, Alex West, Joel Yates