The list of world class riders entered for next week's NZCT Women's Tour of New Zealand continues to grow. Besides the top ranked team of the USA, Webcor Builders Cycling pro team, there will be national teams from China, Japan, South Africa, Ukraine and the USA. Webcor's line-up includes Canada's reigning road and time trial champion, Gina Grain, 2006 dual Canadian Champion Alex Wrubleski and 2006 World Championships bronze medallist and Tour of Montreal overall champion, American Christine Thorburn.
Race Director Jorge Sandoval is thrilled with the news that more and more national teams are making their way to Wellington every year.
"We want overseas teams to come to New Zealand and participate in our event. The Chinese, Japanese and South African teams have not been accepted in the Women's tour or World Cup in Geelong a few days earlier and they are coming directly to Wellington. What this means to me is that all the hard work that we have done over the last few years to make sure that we run a great event is paying off."
Sandoval feels that word of mouth has been working well for the event. "Riders who come here go home speaking really well about our event and organisation and this encourages more overseas teams to come here." He added that "The Japanese team has been in a training camp for the last two weeks in Adelaide preparing for our tour," indicating that foreign teams do take the event very serious.
With the Beijing Olympic Games less than six months away, local cycling supporters will also get the opportunity to gauge the quality of Chinese riders with the inclusion of the Chinese national women's team. The Chinese team includes the 2007 Asia Championships Road Race champion, Lang Meng. She also got fourth place in stage 7 of the Route de France Féminine last year. In addition, there will be Yong Li Liu, 2007 Tour of Chongming Island ITT-champion and Xiao Mei Huang, the UCI World B Championship Road Race champion of 2007. The team is completed by Min Gao, Li Chen and Fei Wang.
Sandoval concluded that "The NZCT Tour is already looking like being bigger and better than last year, and that's fantastic for everyone involved." He thinks that all those teams racing "will be formidable opposition to the top Europeans teams as well as our own top New Zealand National team."