Roulston considers track return for Rio Games

OLYMPIC DREAM: Hayden Roulston.
OLYMPIC DREAM: Hayden Roulston.

New Zealand road cycling champion Hayden Roulston may find time is against him in his bid to qualify for the BikeNZ track team for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Roulston said this week he would love to return to the boards at Rio and emulate the silver and bronze medals he won at the Beijing Olympics six years ago.

Now firmly ensconced with the Trek Factory Racing team in Europe and potentially in line for a second Tour de France after making his debut at the Grand Boucle in 2009, Roulston said he could work around his road commitments, finishing the season in October 2015 and then turning his focus to the track ahead of the Olympics 10 months later.

However, BikeNZ high performance director Mark Elliott said the competition for places in the team pursuit squad would make it difficult for the likes of Roulston to break his way back in.

"If you look at the skills of guys like Hayden, guys like Jesse Sergent, they are world class at their specific positions in the TP," he said.

"The thing is the commitment to the track is not something that can come in at the last minute. Hayden's indicated October, but it would have to be six months before that because you've got to go through a qualification process."

Elliott said the nature of pursuiting had evolved, although he didn't want to rule a Roulston comeback out completely.

"The guys are starting so fast now, they are going through the [first 1000m] in pretty much a minute flat. When you look at those guys like Jesse and Hayden who have got those big engines, they've still got to have the raw power to get off the line. We've got talent like Dylan Kennett and Aaron Gate, who are particularly rapid ... that's going to be a challenge, but if Hayden's putting his hand up, that's fantastic."

Fairfax Media