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Roulston wins Vineyards in preparation for Nationals and Tour Down Under
5 Jan, 2010

Wearing his new Columbia HTC Professional team colours for the first time Hayden Roulston won Nelson's Tour de Vineyards as part of his preparation for this Sunday's RaboPlus Elite National Road Race and the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide.

 

Roulston began training again in early December with a focus on doing well in the Elite National Road Race in Christchurch before heading over to Adelaide to prepare to race with his new pro Team in the first pro tour event of the season that starts on the 17th of January.

 

"I enjoyed riding in Nelson," Roulston said. ""I trained either side of each stage and got some good miles and training in the legs for nationals and Adelaide."

 

"It was great to get some tough racing in and I'm looking forward to Sunday and heading over to Australia to race in the Tour Down Under for the first time."

 

It was on the stage three climb up Takaka Hill that saw Roulston take the yellow jersey in Nelson.  He finished the 130 kilometre stage 21 seconds behind the winner George Bennett, but moved one second in front of him on General Classification.

 

Finishing safely in the lead bunch on the final tough Richmond circuit yesterday saw him stay clear of Bennett, who won the under 23 title.

 

"It wasn't an easy win. I was here basically with one rider helping me out, Marc Ryan, up against the other teams. It does make life a bit tougher, whether you've ridden the Tour de France or not, but that's what I needed, some tough race miles."

 

"My focus is now firmly on Sundays nationals race. I am very keen to perform well. It's great that it's in Christchurch and I'm lucky as I do know the climb well. It's a hard climb, and it will be a very hard race."

 

The circuit covers 15.6 kilometres and incorporates the climb (in the opposite direction) of the Cashmere Hills as used at the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games with the race covering a total of 186.6 kilometres. 

 

"I think the race could either be over the first time up the climb if a few want it to be. It's only a four hour  race so it's not overly long and there aren't teams to control it so it will be very interesting."

 

Last year's National road race saw the Subway-Avanti team work to put Gordon McCauley across the line first ahead of defending champion and European professional Julian Dean, but Roulston, who did not race in the national event last year, says this year's race will be very different.

 

"Last year's race was on a flat course.  This year is very different with a tough climb each lap."

 

Roulston rode up to Nelson over several days prior to the Vineyards Tours as part of a training block he hopes will result in a win in the National Road Race and some good early season form in Australia.

 

"It is still early in the season for me but having the nationals in January does mean you have to put in the early training and effort to race that event well and riding in Nelson was an important component for nationals and the Tour Down Under."

Click to enlarge...
Credit Marin de Ruyter - Hayden Racing for the first time in the new Columbia HTC strip

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