With the countdown to the 2016 An Post Rás drawing ever closer, the New Zealand national team have today confirmed their entry in to this year’s race. The squad will join the dozen foreign outfits already announced in what looks to be one of the strongest editions of the race to date.
|Dylan Kennett, New Zealand |
The riders selected as part of the Kiwi squad will form part of a serious push for success at the track events at this summer’s Olympic Games. They include Hayden Roulston, a multiple national champion who raced as a pro on the Cervélo Test Team, HTC Highroad, Radioshack Nissan and Trek Factory Racing squads. The experienced 35 year-old is a past Tour of Poland stage winner and took silver and bronze medals on the track at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
His An Post Rás team-mates include Regan Gough, Dylan Kennett and Pieter Bulling, who were part of the gold medal-winning team pursuit at the 2015 world track championships. Gough also won the points and madison races at the 2014 World Junior Track Championships. The fifth member of the team is Nick Kergozou, who previously raced in Ireland at the 2015 An Post Rás and who also won the omnium event at last year’s Dublin Track Cycling International.
“2016 is a key year for Cycling New Zealand with the Rio Olympics as it is an important pinnacle event for the New Zealand program,” said national men’s track endurance coach Tim Carswell.
|Regan Gough, New Zealand|
“The An Post Rás is a key race for the male track endurance squad in this preparation phase for the Games. We are looking forward to competing at this edition and appreciate the invite from the sponsors.”
Carswell is excited about what the team could do in the event.
“On paper, we have one of the strongest teams that New Zealand have ever fielded at the An Post Rás. We look forward to building on the success we have had in past editions. We see that the course is quite challenging this year but we hope to target stages and evaluate opportunities as the race unfolds.”
The national track team normally also includes Aaron Gate, a double stage winner and the green jersey at last year’s An Post Rás, and Alex Frame. The latter was eighth overall in the 2015 race and finished second on stages two and three. Gate and Frame will not be part of the New Zealand selection for the An Post Rás due to obligations with their road teams, An Post Chain Reaction and JLT Condor.
This year’s An Post Rás will comprise a very strong international field. Thus far, thirteen foreign teams have been announced for the event, with squads coming from Australia, Austria, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the USA.
|Pieter Bulling, New Zealand|
“The New Zealand national team will add to the high quality of riders for this year’s race,” said An Post Rás director Tony Campbell. “Being part of the national track team, the riders will have a rapid turn of speed and will play a big part in both how the race unfolds and on the results.”
This year’s An Post Rás will total almost 1240 kilometres, and will include 25 categorised climbs. The race will roll out from Dublin Castle on Sunday May 22nd, with the venue chosen to mark the 2016 Easter Rising commemorations.
The world-ranked event will feature stage finishes in Multyfarnham, Charleville, Dingle, Sneem, Clonakilty, Dungarvan and Baltinglass before concluding in Skerries on May 29th.
|New Zealand National Team|