BikeNZ, with the support of Calder Stewart, will showcase New Zealand’s world class cycling talent with a strong national invitational team to contest the PowerNet Tour of Southland in November.
Pro tour riders Hayden Roulston (HTC Columbia) and Greg Henderson (Team Sky) will lead the team. Recent Commonwealth Games silver medallist Roulston is no stranger to this tour, having won the event three times before.
As UCI rules restrict pro tour riders from racing for another team, unless they are riding for their club or their country, BikeNZ has created a national invitational team to ensure that our top riders get the chance to race New Zealand’s premier tour.
These regulations also apply to Jeremy Vennell who riders for the US based Bissell Pro Cycling team. Vennell has been invited to the team to ensure that he too can compete in the Tour of Southland.
”BikeNZ is proud to be supporting the PowerNet Tour of Southland by ensuring the country’s top riders are able to race the event,” said BikeNZ CEO Kieran Turner.
“The national team provides the opportunity for the New Zealand public to see our top riders in action on their home turf. After racing a full international season it is great that these riders want to come home and race this tour. It is a credit to the history and culture of the Tour of Southland. It would be disappointing if their high level success restricted them from racing an event which is so pivotal to New Zealand’s cyclist development.”
BikeNZ tried other avenues to ensure that our pro riders could race in composite teams in New Zealand, including meeting with the UCI. While a dispensation could not be obtained, the national invitational team is the best solution working within the UCI rules and framework.
“It is a win-win situation for us all. These riders can race the Tour and some of our best riders can have the opportunity to be seen by the New Zealand public.”
Lining up next to them in the national invitational team will be Jason Christie (Ashburton), Brett Tivers (Stratford) and Paul Odlin (Christchurch). The strong combination will pose an immense challenge to other teams in a showcase of New Zealand cycling talent.
The team is not only about performance but also about development. The pro-tour riders will bring with them large amounts of team racing experience both on and off the bike. This will be invaluable for all the team, especially for 19 year old Christie who is attempting the PowerNet Tour of Southland for the first time.
BikeNZ appreciate the support of Calder Stewart for sponsoring the national invitational team and look forward to developing this partnership with them.
The PowerNet Tour of Southland runs from the 1 – 6th November.