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Villumsen cleared to ride for New Zealand

Linda Melanie Villumsen (Denmark) won the bronze medal.

Linda Melanie Villumsen (Denmark) won the bronze medal. (Image credit: Sirotti)

Linda Villumsen has received final clearance to ride for the country of New Zealand, whose citizenship she adopted earlier this year. The former Danish rider will make her debut for her new homeland at eh national road championships on January 9.

The 24-year-old, who rides for Columbia-HTC, said in October that she had considered the citizenship change for a long time. “My connection to Denmark will always be there, but it is here in New Zealand that I have found my life.”

This week she received final clearance from the International Cycling Union and the Danish Cycling Federation to ride for New Zealand. She said she hopes to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, October 3-14, 2010.

"Since I arrived here I have had a lot of support from BikeNZ and from everyone around and I feel that this support is giving me so much more than I have had before," Villumsen told the NZPA news agency.

Bike NZ director Mark Elliot was enthusiastic about his new rider. "Add Linda to the likes of Cath Cheatley, who was 10th at the world championships this year, potentially Rosara Joseph and a number of other riders with professional experience, and we will have a powerful team for the Commonwealth Games."

Villumsen had seven victories this season, including the overall title at the Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen and both the road and time trial national titles. She won the bronze medal in the time trial at the World Championships in Mendrisio.