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Waimate cyclist Dylan Kennett has taken another major leap in his career.

Normally a track cyclist, the former Waitaki Boys’ High School pupil won the Tour of Taihu Lake, near Shanghai, China, earlier this week.

Kennett (24) won the overall title at the seven-stage, 623km event, as well as the points victory, with four podium finishes, including a stage victory.

His team, St George Continental, also won the teams category.

Speaking to inCycle after the race, Kennett said he had targeted the event after competing in it last year.

He overcame knee surgery two months ago to recover in time and spearhead the St George Continental team.

“The teamwork by far has to be my highlight,” he said.

“All the boys work jobs. I’m the only one who doesn’t work a job .. they’ve deserved it. We’re so proud of them.”

Kennett said he intended to defend his orange jersey next year after the Tokyo Olympics, where he will return to the track.

“I might be in better form next year, or I might come in 10 kilos heavier from celebrating if I go too good at the Olympics.

“Next year is going to be a busy year but it would be nice to come back and defend it, that’s for sure.”

His mother, Caryl Kennett, said the rest of the family managed to watch most of the race from home.

“He is really good at time-trialling, so he knew if he got the lead or up the top of that he could use that to keep carrying on and try and get the yellow, or the orange, as it was in this – and that was basically what he did,” she said.

“The boys worked their butts off around him to make that happen.

“It was a great all-round effort.”

Because of his track background, Kennett had a more powerful build than a lot of road cyclists, Caryl said.

“He has got the endurance and the sprinting as well; it’s a really good combination.”

She said her son’s main focus was the Olympics.

He will also compete in the Tour of Southland before starting his Olympics campaign at the track cycling world cup.