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Share the Road first to announce Tour of Southland lineup
Oct 11th, 12. Share the Road has named a new-look team ahead of this year’s PowerNet Tour of Southland and it is confident of success both on and off the bike.
Just one rider from last year’s Share the Road team, which finished third in the team classification, is returning.
Following a season in Belgium riding for Marco Polo, Chris Macic will return to the team for what will be his fifth Tour of Southland.
Macic had a strong Tour last year, finishing fourth, as well as second in both Sprint Ace and King of the Mountain.
He will be joined by Australian Sam Witmitz, and Kiwi riders Fraser Gough, Greg Taylor, Mark Langlands and Sam Lindsay.
Witmitz is no stranger to the Tour after riding in a team with Floyd Landis in 2010, and is a promising sprinter. He has achieved a number of good results for Budget Forklifts in Australia this year and also rode with the team in the Oceania Championships in Queenstown in April.
Langlands and Gough (cousin of Olympic bronze medallist Wes Gough), both come to Share the Road after being teammates in last year’s Tour with another team. Langlands was previously part of the Pure Black Racing setup and will compete in his seventh Tour of Southland this year, while Gough is a former New Zealand junior representative.
Taylor is not well known in current cycling circles but could be the team’s surprise package. The 32-year-old has ridden for New Zealand at junior, under 23 and senior ranks before giving up the bike for a number of years. He got back on the bike about a year and a half before last year’s tour where he placed 18th, and is looking to better this result in 2012.
Lindsay, who has been riding in France for the past three years, will compete in his first Tour of Southland this year.
Whilst the team will be looking to achieve top results on the bike, it is also looking for success off it in terms of promoting the Share the Road message and team manager Brendon McDermott is confident the team will achieve both.
“The Share the Road team has always been about promoting road safety and safe cycling almost as much as it is about posting successful results right through the PowerNet Tour of Southland,” he said.
“That’s what encourages people to ride for us. Whilst we have got a new-look team this year, it’s one that I’m sure will surprise some people and post some really good results.”
Share the Road cyclists, along with staff from Sport Southland, Road Safety Southland and the New Zealand Police, will take part in the annual roadshows, visiting schools throughout Southland to promote the Share the Road messages in the week preceding the Tour.
For Wellington-based rider Taylor, who will compete in his fifth Tour of Southland, that has been part of the drawcard.
“I am fizzing to race for a team that’s all about sharing the message, racing hard and having a good time,” he said.
“It’s a message I believe in and one I actively promote.”
Langlands agrees: “The New Zealand public needs to realise that cyclists have as much rights as drivers on our roads,” he said.
“The Share the Road message has to be sold to the public through children of a young age in order to change the mind-set of who oppose cyclists on the road.”
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