Feilding's Jesse Sergent has followed on from Manawatu's Nathan Dahlberg and joined the top-flight pro cycling ranks.
The 22-year-old has landed a contract with Lance Armstrong's Team Radioshack after competing for the past two years for their Trek-Livestrong under-23 team.
Dahlberg rode for 7 Eleven and Motorola among others in the late 1980s and early 90s and completed the Tour de France in 1988 and 1989.
Sergent becomes the fifth New Zealander currently riding for a major team, including Radioshack team-mate Sam Bewley, Julian Dean, Greg Henderson and Hayden Roulston.
Sergent was delighted with the news and excited about the future.
"The last two years with Trek-Livestrong has been really great and right now I am enjoying my time on trial with Radioshack," he said.
"My immediate focus is on preparing for the Commonwealth Games (in India next month) but this is very exciting."
Sergent won a silver medal in the individual pursuit at this year's world championships and was a key member of the New Zealand team who won bronze in the team pursuit.
He recently won the time trial stage in the Tour of Gila.
He is a former junior world champion in the team pursuit, won a bronze medal in the same event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and holds the New Zealand record hold in the individual pursuit.
BikeNZ high performance director Mark Elliott said Sergent's promotion underlined the advances being made to the organisation's cycling programme.
"Jesse is a class act and it's rewarding that our riders who are producing world quality performances on the track within the BikeNZ programme are getting professional oppor-tunities on the road," he said. "Jesse has been assured that he will be able to still ride the track in line with his goal of the (2012) London Olympics and I am sure he will be a real asset to the Radioshack organisation."
- The Manawatu Standard
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