Dean unavailable for Commonwealth Games

New Zealand's top road cyclist Julian Dean has confirmed he is unavailable for selection for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Dean, who came 9th in this year's Road World Championships in Madrid, said that his team, Credit Agricole, told him he is unable to compete. According to Dean, the timing of the Commonwealth Games is almost as bad as it could be for pro riders, coming between the Milan - San Remo and the Tour of Flanders, which are two of the biggest races in Europe.

Dean, while disappointed at not being able to compete for New Zealand is philosophical about his unavailability. "It is always good to ride for New Zealand, especially as it means so much to New Zealanders, and the Commonwealth Games is so good for the profile of the sport and the athlete," he said. "But my goal is to achieve at the very top level and in road cycling that is the ProTour in Europe, and the Olympics."

BikeNZ High Performance Director Michael Flynn commented, "The loss of a rider like Julian Dean, who would have been one of the leaders, is a major setback to the New Zealand cycling team, but I do understand the responsibility of Julian to his professional team. He has a responsibility to his team and has always given New Zealand cycling 100 percent.

"He has maintained contact with me during this period and has offered to help New Zealand athletes in other ways. In one way it means that another athlete or athletes will have to step up and take on the responsibility of leadership, and I am sure we have athletes who are very keen to show New Zealand that they are the one," said Flynn.

Dean, who is based in Spain for the majority of the year, will compete in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under in mid-January in Australia, before heading back to Europe for the season, where he will be until after the Road World Championships in Austria in September.

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