FROM THE SOUTHLAND TIMES
A Southland-dominated cycling team is hoping to make even more impressive strides on its second trip to the United States next month.
After riding under the Team Motatapu banner last season, the James Canny-managed outfit has been reinvented as Team NZ Pro Cycling with the help of Iconic Adventure's Tom Pryde.
Canny, the son of Cycling Southland president Steve Canny and these days based at an Auckland law firm, has done much of the donkey work in putting the team together and will also ride.
Joining him in the team are Aucklander Aaron Gate, Christchurch's Sam Steele and Adam Stewart, Palmerston North's Simon van Velthooven and Southlanders Andy Hughson, Hamish Presbury, Eddie Dawkins and Pieter Bulling.
From that line up the road squad of Canny, Gate, Hughson, Steele and Presbury will spend three months in the United States racing on the road and track, alongside the likes of Dawkins who will be there as part of the New Zealand preparations for the Commonwealth Games.
Canny has high hopes for the fledgling team.
They were able to produce some notable results in the United States last year and have been able to secure additional sponsorship as a result.
Some major sponsors were waiting to see how the team fared in its second year before committing, Canny said.
It's been a difficult sponsorship market, but the team will race on uniform bikes and in the same team kit this year.
Looking as professional as possible was a major aim.
Some novel initiatives have been looked at – including getting three months of free accommodation in return for painting the house they will be staying in in the United States.
The public can also support the team by purchasing membership packages on the team's website at teamnzprocycling.com
Canny said the team planned to enter this year's Tour of Southland, and the website states the admittedly lofty goal that it would like to set a platform for New Zealand's first team to compete in the Tour de France.