Peloton Watch
  Michaela Drummond claims World Record and World, Oceania and New Zealand titles in 2015  
  November 16th 2015  
  Michaela Drummond (Centre left) Photo: Kazakhstan Cycling Federation/UCI Junior World Championships 2015
  17 year old Michaela Drummond's first year as an under 19 has been nothing short of exceptional. Two Oceania titles, dual gold at the New Zealand Track National Championships before her first rainbow jersey at the Junior Track World Championships after winning the team pursuit. Not just gold but a World Record propelling the young New Zealander in to the record books.

Throughout her cycling career Drummond has been at the top. She entered the under 15 category at the Secondary School Road Cycling Nationals and went on to win while still an under 14. Only to be told after the race she had been disqualified for being too young.

From dominating the under 15 category at Track Nationals winning all four titles in 2012 before joining the New Zealand U17 Development squad in 2013 and claiming five medals on the track in her first year in the new age group.

Drummond's time as an under 19 started in October 2014 at the Oceania Track Championships. Immediately finding success as she took out the scratch race before adding the omnium title on the final day.

At the New Zealand National Championships this year, Drummond again asserted herself as one of the top talents finishing top five in all six events she started. Taking out the points race and claiming silver in the scratch and 500m time trial bronze. Confirming her all round talent by then adding the omnium title a month later in a close battle with Bryony Botha.

A World Championship debut saw a dominant performance by New Zealand in the team pursuit as Drummond along with Bryony Botha, Madeline Park and Holly White swept to gold smashing the World Record in the process. New Zealand became just the third nation to win the women's team pursuit at Junior or Elite World Championships.

Earlier this month Drummond was named 2015 Manawatu Junior Sports Women of the Year. Currently completing her year 12 exams ahead of starting university next year, but she already has her eyes set on the 2016 season. A return to the Junior World Championships with a defence of New Zealand's team pursuit title the target as well as a start in the omnium. With the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2020 Olympics also on her radar.

PelotonWatch: You played hockey, how and why did you take up cycling?

Michaela Drummond: I got into cycling through my primary school (Ashhurst Primary). The school, I noticed, offered cycling as a sport known amongst the Manawatu cycling community as the tasc force cycling team. I decided to jump on the bike and give it ago and later found out I wasn't bad at the whole cycling thing and the passion just grew from there till now.

PW: Started your time as an under 19 winning the omnium and scratch race at Oceania Championships in October 2014. How did it feel taking two Oceania titles especially the omnium having just stepped up to under 19 level?

MD: It was pretty special, although the Oceania champs field isn't usually a large field it is of the most elite cyclist coming from both New Zealand and Australia so it was quite a buzz being able to come away with a pair of titles in just my first year as an under 19 cyclist on the track.

PW: Also claimed the New Zealand omnium and points race title this year. What do they mean to you?

MD: The New Zealand titles are always special to me, over the years I've been lucky and privileged to take a few titles on both the road and track. I think for me the points race title this year was one of my most hard fought for National titles and probably my proudest, after crashing towards the end of the race I was able to get back on and take the last sprint to narrowly beat my good friend and team mate at Worlds Bryony Botha.

PW: Claimed silver in the road race at New Zealand National Championships. With success on both road and track what made you decide to focus on the track and was it a difficult decision?

MD: For sure, it's always a hard decision between road a track racing I see myself ending up on the road that is my dream. However the track racing I think, right now, I have found a love for and I really enjoy the whole race dynamic and the skill that is involved it doesn't just take pure strength to be a good track rider and that's what I love about the sport, and am thankfully quite good at, the technical side of the racing.

PW: Selected in New Zealand team for Junior Track World Championships. What does it mean to represent New Zealand?

MD: It's always an honour to wear the silver fern across my back and chest, sometimes you just have to take a moment to really appreciate it because when you get selected for things like this it's always quite full on. You're always focused on the task at hand be it in training or in recovery, but when you do get those spare moments it really hits you, it's a feeling I don't ever want to forget and I think it's always something that gives me that drive when I'm home and not around the team to get back to and be a part of.

PW: Junior Worlds was your first major international competition how were you feeling heading in?

MD: I had a small hiccup heading into team camp before junior worlds with my iron levels, I had to have medication to get my body back to the way it should be so for a moment there it was quite stressful. However I had a really good bunch of people around me supporting me through that small hiccup and when I finally got to camp everything seemed to click and it was then that I could tell myself I'm ready for this and I was feeling good and just couldn't wait to get onto the plane in Auckland to make my way over to Astana to compete at the Junior World Track Cycling Championships.

PW: Took a commanding win how did it feel pulling on the rainbow jersey as a world champion?

MD: The moment I put that jersey on isn't quite as vivid as I would love it to be. I think what was going through my head was a mixture of relief pride and a tremendous amount of joy, about half a year's worth of trying to find some sponsorship to get to Astana, the hours and hours I spent out fighting in training, all for a title that I wasn't truly sure was achievable not knowing my international competition and all. It was a surreal feeling knowing that the three girls and I in our team pursuit team were now the best in the world... It's still something that feels so strange and amazing to say and every time I see the jersey in my room it's an instant reminder of what an amazing moment it was.

PW: Did breaking the World Record on the way to winning gold make it feel even more special?

MD: To be honest, I think initially achieving the world title itself overshadowed any thoughts I had of a world record being broken. At the time I was just trying to get my head around being a world champion but now that I think about the world record it does make it that extra bit special that not only are we the best in the world we are the fastest ever too. I think that's very special and something I'm going to be proud of forever.

PW: Two months on has it had time to sink in? What does being a Junior World Champion mean to you?

MD: Yes. In a way it's had its time to sink in, I think for me every now and then I take the rainbows out training and I'm not thinking about this year's worlds, I'm already thinking about and looking forward to next year's provided I achieve selection again of course. But there still is still a lot of excitement and positive faces around me that make sure I never am taking this amazing title for granted. For example my first ride back on the track bike at my home track in fielding was pretty awesome Campbell (Stewart) and I were both asked to wear our rainbow jerseys and it meant heaps to a lot of people including myself of course to be back on the concrete track where it all began.

PW: You also competed in the scratch and points races, finishing sixth in the scratch what did you learn from the experience?

MD: Throughout the whole campaign the points race was one of the biggest learning curves. The points is one of my most beloved events after winning it at the 2015 Track Nationals earlier in the year but the TP final was the next day so I made the decision to pull out and save the legs for the team. It was one of the hardest things I had to do in the campaign but after winning gold in the TP I knew it was all worth it. The scratch was a great experience for and I learnt that I can take forward to next year.

PW: In your final year of school this year how have you managed to combine training and racing with school?

MD: It's definitely not easy but it's all about time management, which I have struggled with in the past but I've had all the right people around help me deal with the workload. A lot less procrastinating goes along way!

PW: What are your goals both on the bike and off the bike for 2016?

MD: Heading into next year I want to regain selection to the 2016 Junior Worlds Team while studying Human Nutrition at Massey University. I also currently have a part time job, which I will continue on for next year.

PW: Have claimed Oceania and New Zealand titles in the omnium is it an event you would like to focus on in 2016 and beyond?

MD: Definitely, I absolutely love the omnium event as it has all my favourite races such as the point, scratch and elimination. Especially after watching the 2015 omnium races at Worlds.

PW: Looking ahead what are your longer term goals? 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2020 Olympics?

MD: Yeah those are certainly the main focus for my career but I know baby steps are key. I would love to go to a few World Cups and get some road racing experience overseas in a professional team.
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