The Wellington round of the women's world cup, to be held March 5, will feature riders such as Oenone Wood, Susanne Ljungskog and Judith Arndt in a quality field that exceeds organisers' expectations. Entries have now closed, and race director Jorge Sandoval says the standard of the 126-strong field is "beyond everything we hoped", with the world's top three riders (Wood, Ljungskog and Arndt) joining names like Nicole Cooke and New Zealander Joanne Kiesanowski in what should be a very well-contested race.
Sandoval believes there are several factors that have attracted the world's top riders to the event. "I think we really blew them away with everything we did last year, especially the course," he said. "They thought having the race right here in the middle of the city with the start and finish in Parliament grounds was pretty amazing - some of them had only ever seen their own parliament on TV." Among the national teams racing are New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Russia and China, who will be competing in a World Cup event for the first time.