Hayden Roulston has eye on Rio de Janeiro gold

Last updated 05:00 29/12/2013
Hayden Roulston
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HAYDEN ROULSTON: The double Olympic medallist wants another medal.

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Kiwi cycling professional Hayden Roulston, a double Olympic medallist, has not given up hopes of adding a third in Rio in 2016.

The 32-year-old is back in Christchurch preparing to defend his national jersey at the Calder Stewart elite road championship on home turf in two weeks' time.

Roulston, who enjoyed his best year as a professional in 2013, has a new two-year contract with the renamed Trek Factory Team. While his focus is on a big support year for room-mate Fabian Cancellara in the early season Classics and a renewed desire for a second crack at the Tour de France, Roulston has a weather-eye on the Rio Olympics, after winning two medals at Beijing.

"I would love to ride the Olympics. I'd love a gold medal but it is very difficult to come back to the track with all of the complex qualifications that the UCI have put in place. I have talked to Dayle Cheatley [New Zealand head coach] about it. If it is meant to be then it is meant to be."

Roulston has been anointed as the key support for superstar Cancellara. The Kiwi believes his strong form in 2013 was his best since turning professional in 2003.

"I was actually strong throughout the whole season. I didn't have any injuries or illnesses and I came up a level which is good when you have been in the sport a while. Our leader won the key races, so I must have done something right."

Suffice to say that Cancellara has picked Roulston as his permanent roomie.

"Often when you have a superstar in the team, the rest of the team pussyfoot around them but I am not one of those people. I tell it how it is to him and I think he respects that. We've formed quite a strong bond."

While he has his job to do in the Classics, Roulston has spoken to team management at the recent training camp in Spain of his desire to ride the tour in 2014.

"I have been in the long list of 15 riders every year for the last three or four years but I have not gone. The last time was in 2009. At the same time I've not had the passion for it. But I am very serious about the Tour next year."

A stumbling point may be the impending arrival of his second child due in June.

His immediate aim is a fourth national road race title around the testing terrain of the Cashmere Hills, in Christchurch, on January 12, which will enable him to again wear the national jersey on the World Pro Tour next year.

Roulston has been back in training for six weeks and happy with his current form, which he will sharpen in the Tour de Vineyards in Nelson over new year.

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He says the 186km race in Christchurch is a stern test, and key team support is not such a factor with nine testing climbs up Dyers Pass Rd.

"You have to have the legs to win on that course. It doesn't matter if you have a team of 10 or an army of 20."

The championships begin with time trials at Lincoln College on Friday, January 10, followed by the women's road race on the Saturday and men's race on the Sunday.

- Sunday Star Times

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