New Zealand X-TECH MPC stars Nicole Begg & Peter Michael have arrived in Guarne, Colombia to prepare for World Championships. Guarne is up at altitude (2150m) so the New Zealand team have arrived early to acclimatize.
They were greeted with the bad news that the team could not train on the track till the 7th October. This sort of action while the Colombian team are on the track everyday is totally unethical, particularly when the road course is not finished and unavailable to skate on. The New Zealand team and any others who have arrived early to acclimatize will have to travel down to Medellin to get on a track and will not able to fully test the effects of altitude.
NZ Team training in Medellin, Photo – Eileen Hughes
Last time the World Championships were in Colombia in 2007 they also blocked access to the track in Cali. But it didn’t stop Nicole from recording a good championships and winning the track overall World title. That year a late run by Nicole in the 1,000m saw her win her second World Title and beat local star Bridgette Mendez by a few centimeters. She also won two bronze medals, one in the points race and the other in the Marathon.
Peter missed the 2007 Colombian World champs, after winning 3 gold Junior World medals in Korea the previous year. Last year in China he took home two senior bronze medals and no doubt he will be chasing Gold this year. For the New Zealand men’s team it’s not that easy, they have to contest for positions and may not be the chosen skater in their best event. He is very good at the 10,000 track points elimination event, but in Haining he was the designated support skater for team mate Scott Arlidge.
This year Peter will have an advantage with having MPC wheels as part of his X-Tech Sponsorship. At the Haining Skate Festival Peter skated on MPC for the first time on the Haining track and he had some advantages over other competitors. The exciting thing is that both Peter and Nicole have spent time training on the tight radius track in Haining & should be prepared for an even tighter track in Guarne.
For Nicole so far her dream is alive with no serious injuries leading up to the World Championships. The last two years she had two serious injuries that severely hampered her Worlds preparation. The last two World Championships she has collected 2 Silver medals and 3 Bronze’s, so pursuit of the Gold is at the top of her list. Having medalled over every track distance at the World championships she is yet to pick up a road medal, so this could be the year. There have been many close 4th’s and 5th’s and a crash in 2007 while leading the road points race which was a sure medal. The tight cornered course and a right hand turn should play right into her hands this year.