Ti­tle de­fences on home turf

The Timaru Herald - - News | Sport - Doug Sail [email protected]

Ti­maru sib­lings Amy Hol­lamby and Chris Kar­ton have a unique op­por­tu­nity to claim a back-to­back New Zealand cy­cling ti­tles dou­ble on a home track.

The brother and sis­ter com­bi­na­tion cleaned up the men’s and women’s Masters 1 (35-40 years) grade at the 2018 cham­pi­onships in the Wairarapa, win­ning both time tri­als and road events, and now 12 months later will at­tempt to re­peat over April 26-28 when Cy­cling South Can­ter­bury hosts the New Zealand age group cham­pi­onships near Pleas­ant Point.

One change, how­ever, will see Hol­lamby com­pet­ing this time in Masters 2 (40-45 years) grade.

‘‘I sup­pose it’s some­thing that doesn’t hap­pen of­ten,’’ Hol­lamby, who also won the women’s sec­tion of the gru­elling Pi­o­neer moun­tain bike race in 2018 with Kate McIl­roy, said about be­ing able to win back-to-back ti­tles on their home course.

‘‘This course, how­ever, is way harder than last year which was quite flat. I would say don’t ex­pect many sprint fin­ishes,’’ she said of a tough course that in­cludes sev­eral climbs up hills on Doake and Driscolls Rds.

En­tries close to­day and are track­ing to­wards Cy­cling New Zealand’s tar­get of 500 with 415 con­firmed on Fri­day last week, with 35 of those from South Can­ter­bury. Rac­ing will be held across youth, ju­nior, se­nior, masters and para grades.

‘‘This event re­ally is a huge op­por­tu­nity for all the lo­cals, both rid­ing and our abil­ity to or­gan­ise an event this size.’’

Hol­lamby, as CSC vi­cepres­i­dent,

This event re­ally is a huge op­por­tu­nity for all the lo­cals . . . Amy Hol­lamby

has been heav­ily in­volved in the or­gan­i­sa­tion with 45 mar­shall/vol­un­teers needed each day, and did re­veal her train­ing sched­ule hasn’t been huge.

‘‘I’m try­ing to be cagey. It’s been more about qual­ity, not quan­tity. Train­ing has been mainly in the garage at home. I’ve ramped it up a bit in the past few weeks and have man­aged to get out twice a week onto the road and time trial cour­ses.’’

Kar­ton, Hol­lamby’s younger brother, is still bat­tling a se­ri­ous back com­plaint which he had planned to have surgery on last year but that has been de­layed.

Af­ter the cham­pi­onships last year, Kar­ton con­tested the South Is­land Calder Stewart se­ries, win­ning his masters grade, but then took three months off.

‘‘It was only at Christ­mas I de­cided it was time to get back on the back on the bike.

‘‘The back is man­age­able. I’m putting up with it. I don’t re­ally want to have it (the op­er­a­tion).’’

MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ STUFF

Sib­lings Amy Hol­lamby and Chris Kar­ton wear new Cy­cling South Can­ter­bury kit as they pre­pare for a train­ing ride and the de­fence of their New Zealand age group cy­cling ti­tles in Ti­maru.

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