Corbin Strong (Israel - Premier Tech) will be getting his first taste of the biggest race in cycling as he lines up for the start of the Tour de France on Saturday.
Strong's results leading into the race made him a tough rider to overlook, with a second place and two fourth places in the recent Route d'Occitanie in France, also giving him second place in the points competition.
In fact, it has been quite a year for Strong, with two top ten stage placings in the Santos Tour Down Under, a fifth place in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean road race, a third and fourth place on stages of the Volta Catalunya in Spain, and seventh in the GP Miguel Indurain one day race.
The team comprises Guillaume Boivin (CAN), Simon Clarke (AUS), Hugo Houle (CAN), Krists Neilands (LAT), Nick Schultz (AUS), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Michael Woods (CAN), and Strong, with a focus on winning stages in the tour. The team will be looking to Strong for results in the fast finishes, especially in reduced bunch sprint scenarios, with Boivin potentially a strong support rider in the run up to the sprint.
Selection to the Tour de France team does mean that Strong will miss out on representing New Zealand at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, but given the opportunity of a start in the most important cycle race in the world, that must have been an easy choice to make.
The 2023 edition of the Tour de France will start in Bilbao, Spain, on Saturday 1 July. This year's Tour will start with a hilly 182km road stage, rather than the traditional prologue time trial, which means that the first yellow jersey of the Tour is a far more open affair than past years, and not bound for one of the small handful of top time trial specialists. The mountains arrive early in this year's race, with the first mountain stage set for Stage 5, while the race includes only one individual time trial, over 22.4km on Stage 16.