Hayden Roulston is relieved the efforts Calder Stewart Industries and BikeNZ means Pro Tour riders can race in this year’s Powernet Tour of Southland.
“Calder Stewart have been involved in the Tour of Southland for years, but they have really put some time and effort into this year’s team and tour and I’m really looking forward to racing for them this year,” Roulston said.
Roulston, fresh from his silver medal win at the Commonwealth Games, will lead a powerful Calder Stewart- Bike NZ National Invitation Team that includes fellow Pro Tour rider Greg Henderson as he chases Tour of Southland title number four.
UCI (International Cycling Union) rules mean pro tour riders can only race for their pro team, their club or their country. Calder Stewart and BikeNZ have formed a national invitational team for this year’s tour to ensure the opportunity existed for the country’s top riders to compete in New Zealand’s premier tour between November 1 and 6.
“Calder Stewart and Bike NZ have worked hard to line up an invitational selection team so Greg and I can race which is just great. It’s been a while since we’ve been on the same team and I’m really looking forward to racing with him.”
These regulations also apply to US based Jeremy Vennell who rides for the Bissell Pro Cycling team. Vennell has also been invited to be part of the team to ensure that he too can compete in the Tour of Southland.
Sales and Marketing Manager for Calder Stewart Mike Tou said they were “ecstatic” at having New Zealand’s leading road cyclists on board.
“Calder Stewart has supported the Tour or Southland for over a decade now and we have worked really hard with BikeNZ to pull this invitation team together. It’s going to be a very exciting week of racing.”
Tou said they worked hard with Cycling Southland to find places in other teams for Australian riders Ben King, and Brad Hall, who were part of their original team, but unfortunately time was against them.
Tour Manager Bruce Ross said having riders of Hayden Roulston, Greg Henderson and Jeremy Vennell competing in the PowerNet Tour of Southland was “an absolute coup for the event.”
“Calder Stewart in conjunction with BikeNZ really have done an excellent job in pulling this national invitation team together that will give the New Zealand sporting public an opportunity to see our top riders in action.”
Bike NZ CEO Kieran Turner said they were proud to be supporting the PowerNet Tour of Southland by ensuring the country’s top riders were able to race the event.
“The national team provides the opportunity for the New Zealand public to see our top riders in action on their home turf. After racing a full international season it is great that these riders want to come home and race this tour. It is a credit to the history and culture of the Tour of Southland. It would be disappointing if their high level success restricted them from racing an event which is so pivotal to New Zealand’s cyclist development.”
Turner said BikeNZ tried other avenues to ensure that our pro riders could race in composite teams in New Zealand, including meeting with the UCI. While a dispensation could not be obtained, the national invitational team is the best solution working within the UCI rules and framework.
Lining up next to Roulston, Henderson and Vennell in the Calder Stewart- Bike NZ National invitational team will be Jason Christie (Ashburton), Brett Tivers (Stratford) and Paul Odlin (Christchurch).