Dean chases hat-trick in New Zealand

Kiwi sprinter Julian Dean will seek his third straight national title this weekend at the RaboPlus...

Kiwi sprinter Julian Dean will seek his third straight national title this weekend at the RaboPlus New Zealand Road Championship in Te Awamutu. Dean, who races for the Garmin-Slipstream squad, is intent on donning the black and white national jersey during the upcoming road season. He's been tailoring his training toward the 180km event rather than focusing on preparations for the six-day Tour Down Under.

"This race means a lot to me. It's great to be able to wear the New Zealand jersey in the major races in Europe and I think it's also helped give our country and our sport some profile with the coverage we get," Dean said. "It brings some kudos and identity in the peloton in the major tours."

After the championships, Dean will join his Garmin teammates in Adelaide for the Tour Down Under before heading back to his base in Spain with his family in February to prepare for the main part of the season.

The championships begin on Friday with the time trial for elite men, under-23 and elite women, with the women's road race over 120kms on Saturday and the men's and under-23 road race over 180kms from 10am on Sunday.

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