Date: Monday, 18 July 2016

A six-strong New Zealand team will contest the prestigious UCI Under-19 Nations Cup stage race in Canada starting tomorrow.

It is the first time since 2011 that New Zealand has sent a team in the Tour De L’Abitibi, a seven-stage race in and around Rouyn-Noranda, a town in southwestern Quebec.

The New Zealand team will take on 25 national teams in the race which will cover over 600kms.

The team, who prepared in the Lachine Criterium last week, comprises Aucklanders Michael Carswell, James Fouche and Bradley Leitch; Ethan Batt (Blenheim), Carne Groube (Palmerston North) and Hayden Strong (Invercargill).

Fouche, 18, is the most experienced, having competed in last year’s junior world championship and is the current Oceania road and New Zealand time trial champion.

The rest of the team all finished in the top seven at the national championship road race this year. Leitch and Strong were fourth and fifth respectively in the Te Awamutu Junior Tour with Carswell and Groube third and fourth respectively at the national championships. Batt, 17, was fifth in both the road and time trial at the nationals and competed for New Zealand at the Mersey Valley Tour in Tasmania this year.

New Zealand has a strong heritage in the Tour De L’Abitibi, with James Oram and Dion Smith finishing first and second in 2011

Meanwhile Fouche will also be part of a five-strong New Zealand team to contest the UCI World Road Championships in Doha in October, named by Cycling New Zealand today.

He will be joined by the Palmerston North pair of Robert Stannard and Campbell Stewart; Wanaka’s Mikayla Harvey and Auckland’s Madeleine Park.

Fouche, Stannard, Stewart and Harvey all competed in last year’s world championships in USA, while Park was a member of the world champion winning team pursuit on the track.

Stannard is the current national junior champion and runner-up in the time trial and went on to finish second on the road and third in the time trial at the Oceania Championships.

Stewart, who will compete in the junior world track championships in Switzerland this week, was second in the national championship while Harvey is the national and Oceania junior road champion.

Park was second behind Harvey in the road race and won the national time trial champion.

The world championship will be staged in the Middle East for the first time, set for Doha on 9-16 October, a month later than normal to avoid the extreme heat.

The under-23 and elite teams will be named later.

The New Zealand junior road teams are:

Tour De L’Abitibi: Ethan Batt (Blenheim), Michael Carswell (Auckland), James Fouche (Auckland), Carne Groube (Palmerstron North), Bradley Leitch (Auckland), Hayden Strong (Invercargill). Manager: John Rippon (Auckland).

World Championship: James Fouche (Auckland), Robert Stannard (Palmerston North), Campbell Stewart (Palmerston North), Mikayla Harvey (Wanaka), Madeleine Park (Auckland).

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