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Australian women cross Tasman

A record contingent of Australian riders will nip across the Tasman sea to New Zealand for next month's Trust House Women's International Tour and the New Zealand round of the women's World Cup, according to organiser Jorge Sandoval. A total of 27 Australians will start the tour on March 2 and the March 6 World Cup race.

Sandoval believes the women's contingent will be looking to repeat the success of their male counterparts at last month's Trust House Classic. "The Aussie men won the tour, the King of the Mountains competition, two stages and placed riders in every stage, now it is the women's turn," he said.

Australian teams include the national road squad, plus regional teams from the institutes of sport in Queensland, Victoria, Canberra and Western Australia. In addition, several top Australian riders will be riding in the colours of their European trade teams, including Sara Carrigan (Ton Van Bemmelen AA Drink), Oenone Wood and Olivia Gollan (both Nurnberger).

"The Australians have been racing full-on since January," said Sandoval, "they are race fit and in a hilly course, like we have prepared for the World Cup right in the middle of Wellington, only the fittest will survive."

The Trust House Women's Tour starts Wednesday March 2 with the Hutt City Criterium around Fraser Park. The second day, riders will travel by bus to the start of stage two a 117km from Featherson to Masterton in the morning and the Masterton criterium in the afternoon. The final stage takes place on Friday morning, with riders completing a 12km individual time trial in Miramar.

The Women's World Cup starts at 10.00am on Sunday March 6 from the Parliament Buildings in Wellington.

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