In-form Olympian Georgia Williams will head a New Zealand cycling team invited to compete in the prestigious Santos Women’s Tour event in Adelaide next week. It is the second time the Women’s Tour has been included as part of the Santos Tour Down Under, which has again been awarded UCI 2.2 category.
Williams was in outstanding form at the national road championships, finishing runner-up in both the time trial and road race, to confirm her class.
Fellow Rio Olympian and national criterium championship winner Raquel Sheath will join her in the team along with junior track star Bryony Botha, now in the Cycling New Zealand high performance squad. They are joined by three young riders who all shone at the national championships in Mikayla Harvey, Georgia Catterick and Madeleine Park.
Harvey, from Wanaka, won the under-23 time trial while Park (Counties Manukau), who is bound for the crack American TIBCO-SVB team this year, was fourth in both the time trial and road race. Her new team has bypassed the Australian race leaving her free to compete for the New Zealand national team.
The team is rounded out with Catterick (Marlborough), who like Park, will compete in the USA this year for new team Illuminate who are not racing in Adelaide. Catterick was runner-up in the under-23 time trial in Napier.
The team will compete in the four stage event starting on Saturday with a 106km stage from Hahndorf to Meadows in the Adelaide Foothills; a kermesse in downtown Adelaide, the third stage of 93km in the Barossa Valley and final stage criterium in Victoria Park in the CBD.
Williams, Sheath, Botha and Park return after the tour for their track racing preparations for next month’s national championships with Harvey and Catterick remaining to head the New Zealand team in the Cadel Events Great Ocean Road Race.
They will be joined there by national under-23 road race winner Amanda Jamieson (Hawkes Bay), who rides for her new Dutch pro team in the Santos Women’s Tour; talented West Coast rider Sharlotte Lucas, fourth in the national road champs; national club champion Grace Anderson and fellow Aucklander Ruby Livingstone, who rides for the Roxsolt pro team.
“Our aim is to continue the development of young riders towards Tokyo 2020, with both of these races being supportive to our plans by allowing us to select a good mix of experience and young riders of promise,” said cycling New Zealand development manager, Graeme Hunn. “Catterick, Harvey and Park have experience at the Junior World Championship, while the others have developed well over the past two years in domestic competitions with experience in Australia and Europe.”
“For the track riders it is a part of the development towards Nationals, World Cups and the World Championships.”