New Zealand will field arguably one of their all time strongest teams for a major championship road race when both the six-strong men’s and women’s teams line up for the road race tomorrow; the penultimate day of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
In total the number of riders racing the road race riders who have already won medals at this year’s Commonwealth Games stands at five. Sam Gaze is the latest addition to the medal collection and will be the only one of the six men’s riders to carry a medal from this year’s Games into the road race; with his gold at the men’s cross country mountain bike event yesterday.
The men’s squad is a very strong and dynamic one, with plenty of possible cards to play. We’d expect Hayden McCormick, James Oram, Jason Christie to provide strength throughout the race, while whether the team opt to work for Glasgow silver medallist Jack Bauer or Glasgow scratch race gold medallist Shane Archbold will be interesting to observe.
James Oram has already notched up kilometres competitively on the road at this year’s Games with a fifth place in the men’s individual time trial behind bronze medallist and fellow Kiwi Hamish Bond.
The women’s NZ team is likewise set to be highly influential during the race. Bryony Botha and Rushlee Buchanan have already teamed up to great effect in the team pursuit on the track, being part of the squad that took silver. After a busy track programme, Buchanan then finished fifth in the women’s individual time trial as Linda Villumsen took silver.
Who the women decide to work for on the day will be interesting, with the multiple options and versatility within the team making them a very exciting one to watch. Bryony Botha, Rushlee Buchanan and Sharlotte Lucas all have powerful finishing kicks, while the engines of both national champion Georgia Williams and Linda Villumsen cannot be denied. We’d expect Kate McIlroy’s strength and ability on the climbs to likely come into play earlier in the race.
The women’s road race, featuring 48 riders kicks off at 9.45am NZT tomorrow. The men’s road race, featuring 116 riders kicks off at 2.30pm NZT tomorrow.
The men’s road race team for the Commonwealth Games is:
The women’s road race team for the Commonwealth Games road race is: