Armstrong confirmed for US national team at Women's Tour of New Zealand

Defending Olympic time trial champion begins build-up to London Games

2008 Olympic time trial gold medalist and two-time world time trial champion Kristin Armstrong will compete in the NZCT Women's Tour of New Zealand as part of the US national team. The 38-year-old American will be joined in New Zealand by compatriots Evelyn Stevens, Theresa Cliff-Ryan, Kristin McGrath and Ally Stacher.

Armstrong, the 2008 Women's Tour of New Zealand champion, along with Stevens, the current US time trial champion, McGrath and Cliff-Ryan had already been named to the 13-rider strong US Olympic Games long team vying for positions for the London Games. The final women's selection will be determined by results of UCI races between January 1-May 31.

The UCI 2.2-rated stage race takes place February 22-26 in the city of Palmerston North, New Zealand and is one of 12 UCI-sanctioned stage races occurring within the qualification window.

Race organiser Jorge Sandoval is pleased about the powerhouse line-up his race has attracted in an Olympic year, with reigning time trial world champion Judith Arndt confirmed to compete with the GreenEdge-AIS squad, while 2010 road world champion Tatiana Guderzo will lead the Italian national team.

"We are so far away from the rest of the world, and top overseas teams are reluctant to come all the way to New Zealand for a five-day race," Sandoval said. "However, those coming know the importance of winning the tour, and picking up international ranking points which will help qualify riders and teams for the London Olympic Games later in the year."

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