Asked how the New Zealand cycling team will fare at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, national high performance director Michael Flynn told stuff.co.nz: "We are not actually planning to win silver or bronze; we're going about our business to win gold, so if you want a prediction, that's what we're actually looking for."
Continued Flynn: "I believe with the strength of the athletes we've selected, and if we can bring them together as a team, we've got potential to be medallists - gold medallists - in all of our endurance events. The potential to win medals is as strong as it has ever been."
15 road cyclists, 12 track cyclists and 6 cross country mountain bikers comprise the 33-strong squad, with some riders down to ride in both road and track events. Included in the line-up are: current Olympic women's individual pursuit champion and world record holder, Sarah Ulmer, who will skip the boards of Vodafone Arena to ride the time trial and road race; Gordon McCauley, returning from injury after a hit-and-run accident last New Year's Eve which saw him end up with a broken wrist; Hayden Roulston, who quit the Discovery Channel cycling team at the end of last year, only to join another American team, Health Net, and will contest the points race in an effort to make the team for the Beijing Olympics; and defending points race champion Greg Henderson will also race on the road and in the scratch race.
"I will definitely be 100 per cent on March 21 when I race," said McCauley. "It's a bit of relief to be named, but I raced last week and everything seemed okay so I'm pretty hopeful of riding well." For Roulston, the 25 year-old says he quit Discovery so he could come back into the track program, with his eyes on a gold medal at the next Olympics: "It's a big call, but as I said gold in Beijing is something I've dreamed about.
"There is always the weight on your shoulders, and to me the biggest objective is Beijing so the weight will be on till then, but in saying that the Commonwealth Games are a big, big objective of mine," he said.
Henderson, world points race champion in 2004, says the only pressure is the pressure he places upon himself. "That's probably where most of it comes from. Every time I step on to the track I try to think of a way to win this bike race," said the 29 year-old from Dunedin.