New Zealand announce Bergen 2017 Worlds squad

Linda Villumsen and George Bennett lead the line

New Zealand has announced its team for the 2017 World Championships in Bergen with George Bennett and Linda Villumsen leading the line.

Rowing Olympic gold medallist Hamish Bond makes his first appearance at the Worlds after his move to cycling. Bond and Bennett will represent New Zealand in the 31km time trial which features the steep Mont Floyen finale. The road team features Jack Bauer (Quick Step-Floors), Patrick Bevin (Cannondale-Drapac), and Dion Smith (Wanty Group Gobert).

2015 World time trial champion Villumsen and Jaime Nielsen have been selected for the race against the clock. The road team features Villumsen and Georgia Williams (Orica-Scott).

"It is a very powerful New Zealand team and there was a lot of competition especially for the men's road race where we only had three quota spots," said Cycling New Zealand Chief Executive, Andrew Matheson. "There are several riders who are competing in the Vuelta á Espana but we had to select the team now, and just could not predict how they would come out of three weeks of very tough racing.

"But all three riders we have selected for the road race were outstanding in the Tour de France. It is probably the strongest competition we have ever had to select the men's road race team. George Bennett signalled to us that he was keen to compete in the time trial because of the unique nature of this course which should suit him."

Bond, 31, won gold in the men's coxless pair at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games and is also an eight-time world champion. Since making the switch to cycling, Bond has focused on the time trial with third place after nationals and Oceania Championships his stand out results.

"We have been so impressed with the performances and the attitude from Hamish in his switch to cycling. It is very clear to us why he has achieved so much because has left no stone unturned in his preparation including a lot of work on the course," added Matheson.

Villumsen rejoined the peloton in June with Véloconcept Women and has earned her place in the squad with Matheson confident of success.

"We are delighted that Linda has returned to the top of the women's tour, and Georgia has really prospered with her opportunity with Orica-Scott, who are one of the powerhouse women's teams," he said. "Jaime has enjoyed her opportunity to test herself in time trial and her recent effort with the one-hour on the track, gives an idea of her tremendous strength and stamina."

The U23 men's team will feature Regan Gough (An Post-Chain Reaction), Sam Dobbs (Attaque Team Gusto, Cambridge), and Luke Mudgway (RTS Monton Racing) with Gough riding the time trial. Rounding out the squad are junior riders Oscar Elworthy and Ben Hamilton. 

 

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