10/09/2011 - Southland's road cycling team faces a gruelling weekend with 280 kilometres of racing.
Cycling Southland's H&J Smith Outdoor World team will contest the Twizel to Timaru classic today, a 150km handicap race likely to feature New Zealand representatives like Marc Ryan and Michael Vink and the Subway racing team.
Southland will field a young squad with new additions Tom Vessey and Matt Zenovich joining Hamish Presbury, Hamish Tomlinson, Pieter Bulling, Sequoia Cooper and Brehan Cairns, most of whom will probably qualify for the break bunch.
The following day the Southlanders will line up in a 128km Benchmark series race around Timaru.
Outdoor World director sportif Ross Machejefski said the Timaru circuit involved three "lumpy" laps and would test the legs of his riders.
The bulk of the Southland squad are preparing for bigger events later in the year, including the Junior Tour of Southland and PowerNet Tour of Southland.