Oram pulls out of cycling team for Glasgow
Promising young New Zealand cyclist James Oram has pulled out of the Commonwealth Games road race team to instead press his claims for the UCI World Tour.
Oram's US-based Bissell Development Professional Team has been invited to compete in the high profile Tour of Utah in August with the 20-year-old Kiwi selected as the team's designated leader.
Oram said he had been looking forward to representing his country, but the opportunity was vital for his chances of getting a place in one of the world's premier teams next year.
"We've just heard that our team has got a start in this tour, which is second only to the Tour of California and will have six or seven World Tour teams competing," Oram said.
"It's disappointing to miss out on the Commonwealth Games. But this is a crucial opportunity for me. If I can beat some of the pro riders then it's a big chance to get noticed and attract an offer for the World Tour next year."
BikeNZ endorsed Oram's decision.
"He's a professional and the long term view of his career has to be taken into consideration," said BikeNZ High Performance Director, Mark Elliott.
"We totally understand and appreciate the fantastic opportunity that James has been given as general classification leader for this Tour.
"It attracts many pro team scouts and a strong showing here will be a key if James is to progress to the World Tour. He is a young rider with enormous potential and we will no doubt have the opportunity to consider him for selection for Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams in the future."
The New Zealand Olympic Committee also said it respected Oram's decision.
BikeNZ and the NZOC are yet to name a replacement.
Meanwhile, Auckland 20-year-old Georgia Williams has been added to the Commonwealth Games team.
She will compete in the individual pursuit at Glasgow and in a support role in the women's points race.