New Zealand’s Olympic Committee has named all but one of its riders for October’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. ProTour riders Hayden Roulston (HTC-Columbia) and Greg Henderson (Team Sky) will front its bid for the men’s road race, while the women’s effort will be led by Danish-born Linda Villumsen and Beijing Olympian Cath Cheatley.
While it’s been 16 years since the nation’s last road medal at the Commonwealth Games, the pan-flat course in India should suit New Zealand’s roster well. BikeNZ High Performance Director Mark Elliott is pleased with the potential of the squad.
“Both road squads are very strong, one of the strongest overall that we have taken overseas to a Commonwealth Games,” said Elliott. “The road race course in Delhi is mostly flat and it will take a real team performance if we are to cover breaks and position our best riders with a chance if it is a sprint finish.”
Gordon McCauley and Melissa Holt will represent the nation in the men’s and women’s time trial.
New Zealand’s track team is based around the contingent that won four medals at this year’s UCI Track World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The men’s endurance track group features world pursuit silver medallist Jesse Sergent and his bronze winning men’s pursuit squad with Sam Bewley, Westley Gough, Marc Ryan and Peter Latham. Alison Shanks will lead the women with world points race silver medallist Lauren Ellis, former world junior medallist Gemma Dudley and Cambridge rider Jaime Nielsen.
“We will look to further develop our track squad on the world stage. This is an important stepping stone for then and a real opportunity for this very young sprint group,” Elliott said. “Overall it’s a strong squad. The Commonwealth Games is a vital part of our development and we have a number of young riders having their first taste of a multi-sport event at this level, as well as some very experienced and proven professionals who remain passionate about representing their country.
“The Commonwealth countries are exceptionally strong and this will be a world class event with the likes of Australia, Canada and Great Britain, who will be potentially stronger as they break down to the home countries for Delhi," he added. “While there are a handful of UK riders opting for the European Championships instead, have no doubt that this is a very, very strong competition.”
Track: Shane Archbold, Sam Bewley, Eddie Dawkins, Westley Gough, Peter Latham, Ethan Mitchell, Marc Ryan, Jesse Sergent, Myron Simpson, Adam Stewart, Simon Van Velthooven and Sam Webster.
Road: Jack Bauer, Greg Henderson, Gordon McCauley and Hayden Roulston. One to be added.
Track: Kaytee Boyd, Rushlee Buchanan, Gemma Dudley, Lauren Ellis, Joanne Kiesanowski, Jaime Nielsen and Alison Shanks.
Road: Catherine Cheatley, Melissa Holt and Linda Villumsen.