Having successfully applied for a Pro-Continental license, British team ONE Pro Cycling will make its 2016 season debut next month at the UCI 2.2 New Zealand Cycle Classic. The Kiwi trio of Hayden McCormick, James Oram and Dion Smith will make their first appearance in ONE Pro Cycling colours on home soil at the race to be held January 20-24 in Wairarapa.
"We are excited about having such a highly ranked team take part in the New Zealand Cycle Classic and it will be a real treat for cycling followers to see them racing right here throughout the Wairarapa," said race director Jorge Sandoval. "There is a lot of experience in the ONE Pro Cycling team. Some of their riders have taken part in big races in Asia, America and Europe. Let's see how they adapt to the New Zealand conditions, the entry of high ranked teams such as this is the results from all the work done over the last 29 years of the Classic, it is of importance to cycling in New Zealand."
Previous winners of the race include WorldTour riders Hayden Roulston (Trek), George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo), Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Nathan Earle (Team Sky).
With Kristian House also making the trip to New Zealand, Joshua Hunt is the only rider selected for the race who rode for ONE Pro Cycling in 2015 although sports director Matt Winston is looking to start the season with instant success.
"We want to kick start our season with a strong performance so we'll be aiming for a stage win whilst in New Zealand," Winston said. "Having the three young kiwi riders in the team is a big bonus, we plan to give all three of them an opportunity to start on their home turf. It's important at ONE Pro Cycling that we continue to develop our riders and there's no better place than taking part in an international race in your home country. So barring illness or injury all three will be there and hungry for a good result."
House, a former British national champion, joins the team from JLT-Condor adding experience to the young squad who are all 24 and under. Smith, who was third at the 2015 edition of the race, is likely to lead the GC aspirations of the team while Oram, who was eighth on GC, offers a second option for overall victory and stage wins.
ONE Pro Cycling will then head across to Australia for the 1.HC Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on January 31.
ONE Pro Cycling for the 2016 NZ Cycle Classic: Kristian House, Joshua Hunt, Hayden McCormick, James Oram and Dion Smith