25/01/2011 - A strong contingent of Cycling Southland riders will line up for the start of the annual Tour of Wellington road classic tomorrow.
Tom Scully, Cameron Karwowski and Hamish Tomlinson will join Otautau's Mat Marshall and James Williamson, of Alexandra, to fly the southern flag over five days of racing.
Scully, who will ride for the Orbea team, has quickly got back on the bike to ride in the Tour of Wellington after returning from Beijing with the New Zealand track team that competed at the recent World Cup meet.
The 90-strong field will face 564km of challenging terrain around Hutt city, Wellington and the Wairarapa. Karwowski will feature in a New Zealand selection alongside national under-23 time trial champion Jason Christie and talented New Zealand track trio Shane Archbold, Aaron Gate and Myron Simpson – all familiar faces at the ILT Velodrome.
"We've ridden alongside each other over the years but this is the first time we've all been together on the same team," Karwowski said.
Juggling base training and track commitments in the early part of the year has proved challenging for the Southland Junior Sportsperson of the Year.
"Training has been a bit on and off.
"We got some big road days in around the (BikeNZ) track camp, but when you are concentrating on Track Nationals, it makes it pretty hard," he said.
The Tour of Wellington's opening stage from Upper Hutt to Masterton via the Rimutaka Hill is a start Karwowski is wary of given the gruelling hill factor.
The following three days feature the Wairarapa before the classic event concludes with a criterium on the streets of inner-Wellington on Sunday afternoon.
"I haven't got high expectations for results, personally," Karwowski said.
"There is one flat stage and a crit which suits me but I've got to get there first."
Tomlinson will suit up for zeroMYcarbon.com, which also includes Te Anau's Logan Edgar, while Marshall will wear the orange strip of Genesys Wealth Advisors.
Williamson and his Pure Black Racing Team were a late addition to the tour after originally being denied entry by race organisers, before a last-minute change of heart.