Peninsula teenager Raphael Kammlein-Cutler from Hooper’s Inlet has been confirmed for the New Zealand Downhill mountain biking team to represent NZ at the IUC World championships in South Africa this year. Raphael has also been selected as one of 3 mountain-bikers and 5 other top junior cyclists from other cycling disciplines as a member of an excellence in sport NZ Team Academy programme at the Sport Otago High Performance Centre.
In June, July and August he and fellow junior downhiller, Lawrence Cawte from Rotorua, will be based in Morzine (France) for training and racing IXS Swiss/European cup and world cup races in Europe with the aim to build up for the world championships. Raphael was overall under 19 winner of the Down-Hill Southern Series on the tough Clyde, Signal Hill, Queenstown and Cardrona tracks. He was also the winner of the NZ Open in Christchurch and gained a second place in the second round of the NZ National Cup Downhill series on the exposed and muddy Bluff Hill track.
Raphael has had his share of injuries, with a couple of bad falls in training and a broken hand meant he missed most of the national series. He had only a week to prepare for the Oceania’s in Tasmania where a bad fall brought home the need to do more work on his recovery. Now back into training and supported by former Olympian Kashi Leuchs and Greg Leov at Bike Otago, Raphael has been focussed and determined to show the selectors he can make it in international competition.
Raphael achieved a very pleasing 4th placing in the Junior Elite at the IXS Swiss cup race at Morgins and was fastest NZ junior at the 2013 World Cup race. He’s enjoying a little less pressure and more fun as he and 7 other Kiwis, race in the IXS European cup race in Austria before returning to Morzine. While based in Morzine the team will train, ride and eat down-hill as they prepare to wear the New Zealand jersey at round 3 of the World Cup Downhill in Andorra and the 2013 World Championships at Pietersmaritzburg, South Africa. A great achievement Raphael, we look forward to hearing more from your events with the Kiwi team.