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Loss of UCI status opens door to ProTour riders
Hayden Roulston will compete in New Zealand’s Tour of Southland once again this year, with the HTC-Columbia rider announcing he’ll ride with the Calder Stewart Industries squad. Roulston started last year’s race while riding for Professional Continental outfit Cervelo Test Team, but Southland’s loss of International Cycling Union ranking this year allows him to take part despite having graduated to a ProTour outfit.
"The status change is not a bad thing as it now allows New Zealand's pro cyclists to race in the event and I really wanted to head back down there again," Roulston said. "We looked at our options and things came together well quite quickly with Calder Stewart. Southland gets right behind the event, it's a good race and really well run and I'm looking forward to racing with the boys Calder Stewart are pulling together for a team."
Roulston has won the race on New Zealand’s South island on three occasions. The event is no longer UCI registered due to issues like the lack of foreign teams, the use of composite sponsor teams and the charging of an entry fee.
Cycling Southland Chief Executive Nick Jeffrey was upbeat despite the loss of UCI status as Roulston was announced for this year’s race.
"The good thing to come out of the UCI decision was we now can open our doors to our top professional riders like Hayden, which is great for the sport and great for us in Southland," he said.
Roulston pulled out after stage one of last year's tour after being involved in a crash. The Tour of Southland was first raced in 1956 and gained UCI status in 2002.