Kiwis to feature in upcoming Tour of Spain
New Zealand's Julian Dean has been named Orica-GreenEDGE team leader for the upcoming Tour of Spain, while Hayden Roulston has also made the cut for his team.
Dean, who's season was badly disrupted by breaking his leg earlier in the year, will ride his first grand tour of the year, starting on Saturday with the team time trial in Pamplona.
Although Dean will be the on road leader of the Australian team, his main role will be to act as the lead-out man for spinter Allan Davis.
Dean returned to racing again at the Tour of Poland in July and also competed last week at the Vuelta a Burgos, a five-day stage race in Spain. His performances have impressed Orica-GreenEDGE sports director, Neil Stephens, with his comeback.
"He's ahead of the mark we've set for him," Stephens said.
"Julian was clearly suffered during Burgos, as did most of the field, and he became reacquainted with what it feels like to suffer to that degree.
"Julian's a tough rider, and he rides 100 per cent for the team. In certain regards, he'll act as team leader on the road during the race."
The rest of the Orica-GreenEDGE team is Davis, Cameron Meyer, Daniel Teklehaimanot, , Mitch Docker, Pieter Weening, Simon Clarke, Travis Meyer and Wesley Suzlberger.
"It wasn't an easy selection to make," said Stephens.
"We had more riders deserving a spot than we had spaces. We chose an equal mix of riders that have the capability to produce results and riders the would benefit from a three week tour as part of their development as professional cyclists."
The general classification battle at the Tour of Spain is likely to be fought out between Alberto Contador, back from his doping ban, and Britain's Chris Froome, who was runner up at this year's Tour de France.
Orica-GreenEDGE's best prospect in general classification is Australia's Cameron Meyer.
"Cameron can time trial, climb and position himself well in the bunch," said Stephens.
"He has many of the qualities we seek in a rider who can perform well on the general classification of a longer stage race.
"We're looking towards Cameron as our only rider to focus on overall results. He'll have support from his teammates when possible in the mountains."
Roulston was orginally a reserve for his RadioShack Nissan team for the Tour od Spain, but announced on his website today that he had made it onto their nine-man roster.
"I wasn't meant to be here, but I got the call last week, which just made my day," Roulston said.
"After having missed the Tour [de France], then the Olympics I felt I deserved something.
"Now I am confirmed to start the Tour of Spain, I know the old body will just get better and better every day.
"When I was told I was going though, I felt like a kid in a lollie shop.
"It was great news and knowing the training I did over the last three weeks has now been rewarded with a start in a grand tour."