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.
“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.
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.
The full New Zealand national team line up for the New Zealand Cycle Classic is below:
Roman van Uden