Dean and Ulmer to headline NZ road nationals

The strongest fields in recent years will line up at the 2007 New Zealand national road cycling championships in Upper Hutt on January 13, 2007.

BikeNZ event manager Ted Jones confirmed that Sarah Ulmer and Julian Dean will ride in the elite women's and men's road races.

Dean, who has not completed in the road championships for a number of years, will line up against 2006 national champion Hayden Roulston, fellow professional Tim Gudsell, who signed with French pro team FDJ in October, Oceania champion Gordon McCauley, and the rest of the New Zealand team competing in the Tour Down Under starting on January 16 in South Australia.

Meanwhile Ulmer will be in a strong field including Christchurch rider Jo Kiesanowski, whose team won the women's world cup team competition this year, as well as top racers Meshy Holt and Toni Bradshaw.

According to Jones, the road races will feature nearly all of New Zealand's top road riders. "This is ideally what the fields should always look like and will provide a rare opportunity to see our top riders race against each other at home."

From 2007, the elite and under 23 time trial and road championships have been moved from their traditional timing on Labour Weekend to January so to increase the likelihood of elite riders attending and so that the winners will have the honour of wearing the champion's jerseys year-round. The calendar change follows the lead of Australian Cycling.

The road race will happen in and around Upper Hutt on Saturday, January 13 with the men covering 146km and the women covering 101km. The time trial will happen Thursday, January 11 at Mangaroa Valley with 40m for the men and 25km for the women. A full start list will be available January 5th, after race registration closes.

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