The Trust House Women’s Cycle Tour of New Zealand received a boost last night, with confirmation that 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Linda Villumsen is entering next week’s international tour to be held in the Wairarapa.
Villumsen, the 2014 Commonwealth gold medallist and 2015 New Zealand national road champion, will race the five-day tour as member of the Ramblers Cycling Club and is tipped to be a top performer. Not only has she spent the last few years racing in Europe, but Villumsen has amassed multiple titles including the Danish National Champion, winner of the 2013 and 2014 international women’s tour of Ardeche in France, overall winner of the women’s Tour de France in 2013 and two times silver medallist at the Time Trial world Championships.
The Trust House Women’s Cycle Tour of New Zealand Race director Jorge Sandoval says confirmation of Villumsen, who rides as a professional rider with American United Healthcare Pro Women’s team participation, will give the tour a real punch.
"Until last night we had strong contenders for the overall title from riders in overseas teams, now with the participation of Linda Villumsen leading the Ramblers team, the whole race is wide open,” Sandoval said.
Sandoval also confirmed the participation of a further five overseas teams to join the already announced national USA and Australian national teams as well as the Holden Racing team and Hi 5 Dream team, both from Australia.
American pro teams Tibco – lead by Kiwi Joanne Kiesanowski, DNA Pro Cycling Team, Pepper Palace Pro Team, the Japan national team and a composite team made up of American and European riders have confirmed their participation in this year’s event.
A New Zealand national team, made up of young upcoming riders, has also entered the tour giving them the opportunity to compete against top class riders right here on New Zealand soil.
“This is the biggest international women’s cycling event in New Zealand and the only UCI event for women’s in Oceania,” said Sandoval.
The tour starts on Wednesday 18th February at 4.00pm with the 15km Teams Time Trial starting and finishing outside the Genesis Recreation Centre swimming pool in Masterton.
Day two will see riders completing stages around the Martinborough vineyards while on day three they will complete the Carrington circuit near Carterton.
The Tour’s feature or “Queen Stage” is on Saturday 21st when riders will complete a 106km climb up two of the highest hills in the Wairarapa. First is Te Wharau hill before riders will grind their way up the 12km Admiral Hill finishing at the summit.
Riders of Note taking part in this years race:
Linda Villumsen – New Zealand
2015 New Zealand road champion
Winner Tour Cicliste Femenin de L’Ardeche – France
Gold Medal 2014 Commonwealth Games
Macey Steward - Australian national team
World Champion, 2014 Junior Individual Time trial
World Champion, 2014 Junior Omnium
World Champion, 2014 Junior Team Pursuit
Evelyn Stevens – USA national team
Winner of the world team’s time trial championships three times
Capturing the US time trial title on two occasions.
Winning a total of 12 major international tours, including the women’s tour de France, Tour of The Netherlands, Tour of Germany and Italy’s Giro de la Trentino among others.
Rachel Neylan - Australian national team
Silver medallist 2012 World Cycling Championships
Silver medallist 2015 Australian National Championships
Winner Cadel Evans Grand Prix – January 2015.
Carla Ryan - Hi 5 pro team - Australia
Twice winner at the 2012 Tour Cycliste Feminin – France
Top professional rider since 2008, competing at the highest level in international cycling.
Katrin Garfoot – Australian national team
2014 Bronze medallist, Commonwealth Games
2013 Australian National Road Series Champion
Alexandra Manly - Australian national team
World Champion, 2014 Individual Pursuit
World Champion, 2014 Junior Team Pursuit
Ruth Corset from Australia
2010 national road cycling Champion - one of the best hill climbers in the tour.
Stage winner women’s tour de France 2009.
Lauren Stevens - Team Tibco SBV - USA
Second overall and a stage winner, 2015 Tour of San Luis - Argentina.
Kendal Ryan Team Tibco SBV - USA
11th place at the 2014 World road championships – Spain
Joanne Kiesanowski Team Tibco SBV - USA
Top New Zealand rider, riding professionally since 2005
Emily Collins Team Tibco SBV - USA
New Zealand pro rider, winner of the 2013Homloop van het Hageland – Belgium