South Africa’s junior endurance track cyclists have smashed the long-standing national elite Team Pursuit record on the first day of the UCI Juniors Track World Championships in Invercargill, New Zealand, 22 August 2012.

In an interview with the local Southland newspaper prior to the Team Pursuit event, South African junior track cycling coach Roger Bouton said that he hoped that his men’s pursuit team could better the South African senior record for the 4km team pursuit, aware that they would be off the pace against the international teams in New Zealand.

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Cycling SA Junior track cycling team coach Dave Street shouts instructions from the track side during the junior men Team Pursuit at the 2012 UCI Juniors World Championships at Invercargill, New Zealand earlier this week © Roger Bouton

Bouton’s realistic target for the lads, Jac Johan Steyn, Jevandre Pauls, Dirkie Nel, Kellan Gouveris and Daniel Stroebel (four riders and an equally fit reserve), had been to break 4 minutes and 30 seconds, where the senior men’s record has been 4:29"364 and the junior record at 4:36"25, almost seven seconds slower.

Durwan Benjamin, Jeremy Maartens, Rupert Rheeder and Garth Thomas had achieved the previous national elite record in Melbourne Australia in 2006, whilst the junior national record had been firmly in place since 1992 by the Central Gauteng pursuit team in Krugersdorp.

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The junior Team Pursuit team in full charge, Kellan Gouveris, Jevandre Pauls, Dirkie Nel and Jac Johan Steyn, at the 2012 UCI Juniors World Championships at Invercargill, New Zealand earlier this week © Roger Bouton

The 4-man pursuit team of Steyn, Pauls, Nel and Gouveris rose to the challenge and recorded a time of 4:25”169, knocking just over 4 seconds off the senior record and a massive 11 seconds off the junior record.

Although off the pace in terms of the junior Team Pursuit world record of 4:02”632 set by the Australian team in Moscow last year, and the 4:06”277 winning time by newly crowned World Champs Australia in this Team Pursuit Final, the new national South African record is a step in the right direction.

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And down to three riders, with Jac Johan Steyn leading the way closely followed by Kellan Gouveris and Jevandre Pauls on the way to smashing the SA national junior and elite Team Pursuit records at the 2012 UCI Juniors World Championships at Invercargill, New Zealand earlier this week © Roger Bouton

In line with Cycling South Africa’s Long Term Participant Development program and Vision 2020, this team will be laying the foundation to a solid performance by a South African Team Pursuit Team at the Olympics in years to come.

Summary of Results – Men Team Pursuit Qualification

1. New Zealand 4:08.125

2. Australia 4:08.468 +0.343

3. Russia 4:09.132 +1.007

11. South Africa 4:25.169 +17.044

Click here to view results page.