Having made an impressive return to cycling at the weekend's UCI World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, New Zealand's Hayden Roulston will continue his comeback at this month's Herald Sun Tour in Melbourne, Australia. The former Discovery Channel rider was forced out of the sport after being diagnosed with a arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD), a heart condition which doctors warned could be fatal if he continued racing.
The 26 year-old turned in a strong ride at the Worlds, despite not finishing the event. The ride backs his win this spring in the Tour of Wellington.
Roulston will support the Hayden Godfrey-led New Zealand squad at this year's Herald Sun Tour. Godfrey has had his own battle with health problems this season, having suffered from an iliac artery blockage for most of 2007, severely restricting his performances, but has now made a complete recovery.
The Herald Sun Tour will be used to help condition New Zealand's track endurance squad as preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games kick into gear.
"Some teams and riders are winding down after a long road season, but for our guys this is the beginning of their Olympic campaign," revealed BikeNZ high performance logistics manager Bryan Simmonds. "The race is great preparation for the Oceania track championships (in Invercargill, New Zealand from 15-17 November) and the four track World Cups that lead up to the track worlds in Manchester in March next year."
"We need the points from the world cups and the world champs to qualify for the Olympics, so the Tour is a very important part of our preparations and we will certainly be aiming for a number of stage wins with our sprinters," Simmonds said.
The New Zealand squad will be sponsored Mitchelton Wines, the Victorian vineyard that has hosted a stage of the Herald Sun Tour for the past two years. "We are pretty excited about being able to support a team of the calibre of New Zealand," said Mitchelton Winery Manager John Beresford. "They work hard, are down to earth and strive for excellence in what they do. All qualities that fit perfectly with Mitchelton and the style of wine we are making in Victoria."
"Mitchelton have been Tour supporters for three years now," he added. "This year, our sponsorship of the New Zealand Team adds a further dimension to Mitcheltons association with the Tour. We are looking forward to bringing the spirit of great Trans-Tasman rivalries to one of the world's fastest growing sports."
Mitchelton Wines - New Zealand for Herald Sun Tour: Jason Allen, Hayden Roulston, Timothy Gudsell, Hayden Godfrey, Marc Ryan, Logan Hutchings and Aaron Tuckerman.