Cycling: Kiwi Finn Fisher-Black juggles track, road aspirations

Kiwi cyclist Finn Fisher-Black
Kiwi cyclist Finn Fisher-Black. Photo credit: Dianne Manson.

In the world of cycling, you just can't beat Europe.

It's the hotbed of the sport - where the best in the world do battle across cobbled streets and arching mountains.

It's also the place where the cycling craft is sharpened, which is why Kiwi Finn Fisher-Black, one of the country's brightest talents, is over there.

Fisher-Black has signed with Dutch team WWV Junioren, where he'll be suiting up for three races - one in the French Alps and two up north in the Netherlands.

"It's a good opportunity to get some racing under the belt as an U19 over in Europe, which is pretty valuable coming from New Zealand," he told Newshub. "They’re a good team, they've been going from strength to strength this season and winning a lot of races, so hopefully I can add to that success."  

The Nelson rider is ready to embrace the challenges of Europe and the variety it provides.

"It's a lot different over there. Everyone's grown up in cycling, everyone's good over there.

"Here, it's still a very small sport in New Zealand, even though it's growing really fast, which is great to see.

"But it's still nothing compared to the European scene, which is why everyone's trying to go over there, get amongst it and learn their way in."

It's been a "pretty perfect year" for the Team Skoda-Fruzio representative.

In February, he smashed the world record twice for the U19 men's 3000m individual pursuit in Cambridge.

"I was aiming to contest that record in August at track worlds, but I seemed to find some pretty good form in February, so it just came a bit earlier than I expected."

Fisher-Black followed that up with double success in Australia, winning the time trial and road race at the Oceania road championships.

"That put the icing on the cake really... everything went perfectly there as well. I couldn’t be happier with how I rode, considering last year, at the same race, I had a pretty bad one and learnt a lot from that.

"It meant a lot to redeem myself and take the win."

Road race victory was the first step towards achieving one of his main goals for the year - making the New Zealand team for the junior world championships in September.

That's been made harder by his busy schedule, which involves juggling the road and the velodrome.

While he's preparing on the track, a New Zealand team is hitting the roads across Europe, training for the world champs on the pavement.

"I can't do that, because I have to go to the track worlds camp, so this is kind of me going out by myself.

"I want to prove myself in Europe and prove that I'm ready to go to road worlds, and hopefully New Zealand will pick that up and put me on the team."

While the time trial has always been his bread and butter, Fisher-Black's starting to appreciate - and pick up - the nuances of a road race. He rode the Junior Tour of Wales last year with his Skoda-Fruzio teammates, and he hopes Europe will teach him more lessons about tactics and how to pull off a successful race.

Fisher-Black will return to New Zealand in July, before jetting back to Germany in August with the track team.