Wood early favourite for New Zealand World Cup

Defending World Cup champion, Australian Oenone Wood, is shaping as one of the favourites to take out next week's New Zealand leg of the women's cycling World Cup in Wellington.

The teams for the race on Sunday March 5, and the preceding three-day Trust House Cycle Tour have now been confirmed by race director Jorge Sandoval. Wood will be racing as part of her German professional team, Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung. Other top contenders include 2005 world champion Judith Arndt from Germany, riding with the German T-Mobile team, and two-time world champion Susanne Ljungskog of Sweden, who'll race with a composite international team.

Three teams have been entered by BikeNZ, including the Trust House New Zealand national team, which features Olympic track champion Sarah Ulmer and top Kiwi contender Melissa Holt.

Sandoval said with national and professional teams from 19 countries making up the field, this is arguably the country's biggest women's sporting event this year.

On Tuesday the 124 competitors will ride through central Wellington, leaving Parliament at 12:30, headed for a Mayoral Reception in Civic Square. The event launch takes place at the National Library Auditorium, 58-78 Molesworth Street, Wellington on Wednesday 1st March at 11.00am. This will include the presentation of teams and media opportunities.

The Trust House Cycle Tour gets under way with a criterium around the Lower Hutt CBD on Wednesday evening (March 1).

More information: www.cycletournz.com

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