Former time trial world champion Amber Neben will lead the charge for the US national team at the NZCT Women's Cycle Tour of New Zealand, which begins on February 24.
The 35-year-old American will head a five-rider squad that includes 2002 women's US Pro champ Jessica Phillips, Janel Holocombe, Shelley Evans and Alison Starnes. Holcombe has prepared for the race in New Zealand by competing in this month's Tour of Qatar
At a time when race organisers have been announcing the cancellation of women's events, NZCT Women's Cycle Tour of New Zealand director Jorge Sandoval is excited about the standard of teams on display at next week's event. That inclues the NZCT New Zealand team, Rochelle Gilmore’s Lotto line-up, and the best of the Australian teams.
"The Norwegian, Chinese and Japan teams all have Olympic representatives looking to make an impression here," said Sandoval. "With the number and standard of overseas riders it ensures the NZCT Tour continues to grow in terms of its international profile. All the hard work we have done in the last few years to make people aware of the tour, and the standard of racing, is paying off."
The NZCT sponsored event starts in the Wairarapa on February 24 with a stage from Martinborough to Masterton. Day two goes over the Pahiatua Track to Palmerston North while the Manawatu hosts day three before returning to Masterton, via the Pahiatua Track, on day four. The final stage is a criterium on Lambton Quay in Wellington on February 28.