In a tremendous feat, two east Auckland students have been selected to represent Cycling New Zealand at the UCI World Championships in Glasgow.
Ruby Spring (Y13) of Saint Kentigern College and Finn Wilson (Y13) of Macleans College are part of the 29-strong New Zealand squad largely comprising World Tour riders and European-based professionals.
This will be Spring’s first time representing New Zealand in what she says has been a lifelong dream.
“I have always looked up to the older cyclists and wanted to be like them. Racing at this high of an international level is something I never thought I would achieve, so to be selected is so exciting for me,” Spring says.
She will be one of four Kiwi women to compete in the junior women’s road race on August 5.
Spring began cycling at the age of 11 and was instantly attracted to the competitive and social aspects of it.
“The competitive aspect was something I loved and drew me to the sport as I love a challenge. The social aspect was also a driver for me to do the sport as it was such a cool way to meet new people and I’ve made lifelong friends,” she says.
Spring’s success in cycling lead to her being named the 2023 Saint Kentigern sports prefect as well as cycling captain.
St Kents’ premier team sport manager Lynne Scutt says Ruby is a very focused and determined sportsperson and has represented the college since year seven in a number of sports and events.
“I have known Ruby since she started in year 7 and she has grown into a top student and athlete. She has set high standards and has worked very hard to achieve her goals and I know representing New Zealand was something she really wanted to do,” Scutt says.
Spring says she owes her success to her coaches and family for providing unwavering support throughout her career.
It will also be Wilson’s first-time representing New Zealand as he gears up for the junior men’s road race on August 5 alongside only two other Kiwis.
“To represent my country and wear the fern has been a childhood dream and has been a big motivator in the past few years,” he says.
Wilson began cycling in BMX when he was much younger at the local Mountain Raiders BMX Club before being introduced to mountain biking while at Bucklands Beach Intermediate.
“When I got to Macleans College I decided I wanted to take mountain biking (MTB) more seriously so I got a road bike for training. Then I did a road race and did quite well and really enjoyed it. I have been racing both MTB and road cycling ever since. This year I have started to turn my focus solely on road cycling,” he says.
Wilson says, above anything, he is most excited about wearing the fern at the pinnacle event for junior cyclists.
The 2023 World Cycling Championships is the first time that all the different cycling disciplines (road, track, BMX, MTB) have been hosted at the same time and location.
“It will be special to be part of this two-week event and part of the biggest ever New Zealand cycling team at a world championship,” he says.
As for their careers after school, both Spring and Wilson are looking to continue cycling and push for higher honours.
“The goal of my trip to Europe this year was to gain international race experience and prove myself on the world stage while also, hopefully, gaining selection for world champs and to be offered a professional development team contract for 2024 (his first year in U23s).
“My long-term goal is making to the world tour, the highest level of professional cycling,” says Wilson.
Spring says she hopes to head back to Europe in 2024 and complete more international experiences and develop as a rider.