From the Southland Times:
Cycling Southland's new representative road team will make its debut in the Benchmark Homes series in Nelson this weekend.
Sponsored by H&J's Outdoor World the team will be competing in the seven-race South Island road series for the first time.
Cycling Southland track and road coach Ross Machejefski said the initiative was an exciting one.
"There's seven races through the year – three before winter and four towards the end of winter. The whole thing has been put together for the development of these guys, getting involved in team racing and just getting stronger so that next year on the track they've got that strength behind them."
Competing on the road straight after the track nationals would take some adjustment, Machejefski said. "We've got the club road nationals at the end of April-May so we've got a little bit of time to get some road legs back, but this week will be interesting."
The Southland team for this weekend will be Cameron Karwowski, Hamish Tomlinson, Dylan Bennett, Hamish Presbury, Brehan Cairns, Lachlan Shannon, Simon Croom, Cathy Jordan and Sequoia Cooper.
Pieter Bulling is also a member of the team, but is recuperating after an impressive performance in last weekend's Goldrush, where he is understood to have broken one of Marcus Roy's long-standing mountainbike records.
The Southland team will ride the 100km Grape Ride in Blenheim on Saturday and then the Benchmark Homes race – 165km for the men and 125km for the women – in Nelson on Sunday.
"I guess our goal is to get a high placing in the under-23 category and hopefully the girls will go well as well," Machejefski said.
The next round of the series is in Hokitika on April 18, after the Around Lake Brunner race.