By Greg Johnson
Australian and New Zealand riders are looking forward to battling on home soil during this week's Tour of New Zealand, which starts today. The stage race and its following one day women's race are some of the region's biggest women's races, following the loss of Australia's Women's World Cup round and adjoining Geelong Tour.
Joanne Kiesanowski is hoping the titles stay with local riders and in particular the New Zealand National Team that she is leading.
"I'm really looking forward to this week of racing, always good to race an international race in New Zealand," she told Cyclingnews. "The stages look long and of course we have the last day finishing up Admirals Hill which is always tough.
"Its great to be riding for the national team too, our team has some strong riders so we will be looking to make sure the yellow jersey stays with a native," she added.
Australia's Tiffany Cromwell is one rider hoping to provide a trans-Tasman upset. Cromwell will feature in the Australian National Team led by Rochelle Gilmore.
"It's a tour better suited to my strengths," said Cromwell. "Were going into it with a strong team and have a few cards to play.
"Personally I'm hoping to have a strong tour as I've been climbing pretty well lately and have some good form," she added. "Looking at the course, the tour is probably going to be won on the last day with the hill top finish of admiral hill."
In addition to plans for herself in the Tour of New Zealand, Cromwell has plans for her team in the following one day event. The youngster is hoping to help set up Gilmore for a shot at victory.
"As for the one day race I will be playing much more of a support role as the circuit is suited more to a bunch finish," she said.