Southern riders line up for elite road champs

Last updated 05:00 21/12/2012

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The Southland skinsuit will again be prominent at the Elite Road Championships in Christchurch next month.

After last year's historic double success by James Williamson and Nicky Samuels in the elite men's and women's races, Cycling Southland and Central Otago-Wakatipu will field a total of nine southern riders in the Calder Stewart-sponsored 2013 titles from January 11 to 13.

Kylie Young and Gabby Vermunt will ride the Women's Elite Time Trial in a small 10-strong field headlined by Olympian Linda Villumsen.

Young will back up to ride the road race over 119.5km.

She will be joined by Sophie Williamson, who is enjoying a string of impressive results, including her most recent series win in the New South Wales Grand Prix.

Her older brother, James, will try to defend the title he won 12 months ago.

By his own admission, this year's nationals are less of a focus for him, with his primary goal to deliver strong results for his new team, Node 4-Subaru in the United Kingdom.

As defending champion, he will wear one as his race number .

It should be a fascinating race with all seven of New Zealand's Pro Tour riders lining up on the start-line.

Southlander James Canny will ride for L&M Group Racing.

Pieter Bulling, Matt Zenovich and Tom Vessey will ride the 182km race as Under 23s, while clubmate Bradley Tuhi will also contest the event for Benchmark Homes.

Zenovich will be the sole Southland time trialler over the 40km distance.

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- The Southland Times

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