NZ team named for road cycling world champs
Commonwealth Games medallists Jack Bauer and Linda Villumsen will lead a 10-strong New Zealand team to the UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Spain this month.
The team will contest championships in the small Spanish city of Ponferrada from September 21-28.
Bauer will be joined by fellow World Tour professionals George Bennett and Greg Henderson for the men's road race, while Jesse Sergent will contest the elite men's time trial.
James Oram and Dion Smith will contest the under-23 time trial and road races.
Villumsen leads the women's team after winning gold in the time trial in Glasgow, and will be joined by Emily Collins, Reta Trotman and US-based Joanne Kiesanowski in the road race.
''Overall it's a select team of quality professionals who have made themselves available for what is a course which suits a specific rider who can handle the distance,'' said BikeNZ high performance director Mark Elliott.
''Like in Glasgow we have riders going there in support of Jack Bauer and Linda Villumsen. I am delighted that Greg Henderson has put his hand up, and he believes he can ride competitively for a good chunk of the race in support of Jack as he did in Glasgow.
''We expect that George (Bennett) will be ideally suited to this course and also be in contention at the sharp end of the race.
''We had a strong plan under Craig Geater at the Commonwealth Games and we will be looking for a similar approach at the worlds, but of course we will have all of the best riders in the world.
''Both Linda and Jesse have excellent credentials in the time trial where the course appears to be challenging and more technical than last year.'' Sprinter Henderson is keen to help support Bauer in the road race, and the climbing talent of Bennett, who pushed into the top-10 overall during the first week at the Tour of Spain, will provide good all round support for New Zealand's top medal hope.
Villumsen enjoyed a breakthrough effort in winning gold in Glasgow, and is hoping to secure gold in the time trial at the world championships after a second-place finish in 2013 and 2011.
The men's road race is 255kms with 14 laps and 28 climbs, and the women's race is 127kms with seven laps and 14 climbs.
The week begins with the team time trial on 21 September, followed by three days of racing in time trials and three days of road racing.
New Zealand team: Jack Bauer, Greg Henderson, George Bennett, Jesse Sergent, Dion Smith, James Oram, Linda Villumsen, Reta Trotman, Emily Collins, Joanne Kiesanowski.