Kiwis announce squad for Aussie assault
The Vantage New Zealand National Team has confirmed its roster for the upcoming Santos Women’s Tour Down Under.
The squad sports some of New Zealand cycling’s best emerging talent, and the race will serve as an important exercise for their development in road cycling.
The team’s high performance athlete development lead Graeme Hunn expects the friendly rivalry that exists between New Zealand and Australia to unfold on the road, but it’s the opportunity to enhance their race craft in Adelaide that will be their primary focus.
“We have a young team of women who are beginning their journey towards professional careers, being able to compete in this prestigious event alongside some of the best in the world is a very important step towards achieving this,” Hunn told tourdownunder.com.au.
“Every time Australia and New Zealand find themselves on the same sporting field there is an edge and the banter that goes with that, it’s always invigorating.
“[But] with a young team it’s as much about learning to achieve - we’ll fight hard to make our mark.”
The Vantage NZ National Team brings riders from teams across the country together under the national banner – at once presenting an exciting and challenging prospect.
The team will undertake a training camp in the Central Otago region of New Zealand’s South Island to hone their combined tactics and fitness before arriving in Adelaide in early January.
The potential prize for riders is an opportunity to step into senior rides at UCI WorldTour teams, and that’s something team sports director Patrick Harvey will be impressing on the young team in preparation.
“Our young riders realise this is a huge opportunity to experience, learn and lift their racing to the next level,” Harvey said.
“The opportunities this event provides are countless, as shown last year with one of the NZ riders picking up a UCI WorldTour contract, and two others signing United States UCI contracts on the back of their attitude and approach to racing at the Santos Women’s TDU.”
The Vantage New Zealand National Team will wear a predominantly black uniform bearing the iconic silver fern during the event.
The Santos Women’s Tour Down Under kicks off in Gumeracha on Thursday 11 January 2018 with four stages throughout the Barossa, Adelaide Hills and Coorong before a conclusion at the Wakefield Road street circuit on Sunday 14 January.