Strong New Zealand national team for NZCT Cycle Classic  

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Dion Smith  James Oram 150Jan 26th, ’15.  New Zealand U23 time trial champion James Oram will lead the NZCT New Zealand national team in the NZCT Cycle Classic starting Wednesday 28th January in Palmerston North.

Dion Smith  James OramDion Smith & James Oram – who rode together at the World Road Championships U23 events – are back together for the NZCT Cycle Classic, photo SirottiJan 26th, ’15.  New Zealand U23 time trial champion James Oram will lead the NZCT New Zealand national team in the NZCT Cycle Classic starting Wednesday 28th January in Palmerston North.

The team is made up of New Zealand pro riders who are not allowed to take part in the tour unless their team is taking part in the race or as members of the New Zealand national team.

21-year-old James Oram is entering his fourth season with Axeon Cycling (previously known as Bontrager-Livestrong and Bissell Development) and he is prepared to step up and leave his mark on the tour so that the end of the year will bring him a pro contract.

“I’m very happy with the Calibre of the NZ team”, said Oram.  “We are all well rounded riders. I can see us being in the mix regardless of the type of finish, whether it is a sprint, climb or breakaway. I believe we can come away with a couple of stage wins and have good options for the GC.

Mike Northey crit nats2014 National Criterium runner-up and 2013 champion, Mike Northey joins the national team this week, photo Eugene Bonthuys
“I couldn’t think of a better start to the season than us taking the overall, it would a great if some of the bigger teams were watching.  I’ve had a quick glance over the stages, and see the new prologue course being the hardest. A lot of time could be gained or lost, even though the distance is so short. The final stage, out Pahiatua way and back, should be the most exciting day of racing.” Oram said.

“James is a classy rider, he recently won the New Zealand time trial title, is an all-around rider, strong on the hills.  He finish second on general classification in last year’s tour, won the Under 23 competition and the stage up Saddle Road on the final day, he showed his class and I am sure he will come to the tour in pretty good shape,” race director Jorge Sandoval said.

Lining up next to Oram will be the 2013 New Zealand National Criterium champion and 2012 Tour of Southland winner, Mike Northey who rides for the British Madison Genesis pro team.  Northey is a capable and very experienced tour rider who took on last year’s Tour of Britain and a host of other European races.  A pro rider since 2010 with vast experience in stage races, Mike has done most of his racing in Europe. 

Roman van Uden close upRoman van Uden adds further talent to the squad for the race starting Wednesday, photo Eugene Bonthuys
Roman van Uden, a professional with the CCN Cycling Team registered in Brunei and winner of the 2013 Sharjah International Cycling Tour (UAE) is the third member of the team.  Van Uden does most of his racing in the Middle East and Asia and also has the experience to go and win the NZCT New Zealand Cycle Classic.

Dion Smith, a New Zealand representative at the last two under 23 world championships is also a member of the NZCT national team.  A member of the Hincapie Racing Team in the States, Dion has competed with distinction in almost every international bike race in the States and Canada over the last two years. 

Ryan Wills turningRyan Wills completes the line up for the New Zealand national team, photo provided
European based cyclist for the last 4 years and 2013 winner of the Ronde van Vlaams-Brabant race in Belgium, Ryan Wills, is the final member of the team.  Wills signed recently with the strong Continental team, Champion System, for the 2015 season.

The full New Zealand national team line up for the New Zealand Cycle Classic is below:

James Oram
Mike Northey
Roman van Uden

Dion Smith
Ryan Wills

 

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