Broken hand no deterrent in Cycle Classic
It will take more than a few injury woes to keep Shem Rodger off the bike this week.
Rodger is riding for the Massey team in the New Zealand Cycle Classic in Manawatu with a broken hand, and has just come right after a broken hip last year.
The hip is fine, but after break-ing the hand in a crash about five weeks ago, he has been laid up a bit and he's facing a hard five days against a strong field.
"That's what I'm most nervous about, with my hand," he said.
"When it [racing] gets in the gutter, there's potholes and it gets a bit sore. It will more be the lack of training."
He has not been able to spend much time on the bike recently but he has been given the all-clear.
Rodger broke his hip racing in Malaysia last year, which put him out of action for six months, so he spent the second half of the year studying at Massey University.
He did not find out it was broken until five weeks later, having thought it was just bruising.
"I got it re-X-rayed and it was broken quite badly."
Originally from Cambridge, he lived in Manawatu last year while studying and has ridden parts of the course before.
Last year a lot of riders struggled with high winds on the Apiti hills, but he did not think it would be too hard.
"I don't mind the small rolling stuff. I don't know all the roads and I haven't ridden quite all the way up to Apiti, but it's definitely good riding up there.
This year, race director Jorge Sandoval has added the Saddle Road to the tour, with the stage finish at the top of the hill on what should be one of the toughest days.
"It will be," Rodger said. "It's always hard when you're racing, when you're always going 100 per cent, no matter what the terrain's like.
"It's not going to be an easy one, and I'm not much of a climber, so it's going to be a day I look to get through and not lose too much [time]."
The 24-year-old is in the Massey team with Matiu Kaihau, Luuk van Wagtendonk, Roman van Uden and the experienced Steve Stannard.
Rodger spent two years with the New Zealand PureBlack Racing team but has just picked up a contract, along with van Uden, with English team Node4, who ride in Europe, America and Asia.
The first stage of the tour is a time trial at Massey on Wednesday afternoon.
Stage two is 143km from Palmerston North, through Feilding to Apiti and back through the Pohangina Valley, while stage three is 163.5km, nearly a reverse of stage two.
Stage four is 131km from Palmerston North and up the Saddle Road via Colyton.
Stage five is 117km from Palmerston North and loops through Rongotea, Himatangi and Glen Oroua before returning to Palmerston North.