Cycling: Magnificent seven to ride together

Greg Henderson
Greg Henderson
New Zealand cycling's magnificent seven have synchronised watches and will compete in this country at the same time.

All seven of New Zealand's world tour professionals will contest the national elite road championships in Christchurch next month.

Greg Henderson, Julian Dean, Jesse Sergent, Sam Bewley, Hayden Roulston, Jack Bauer and George Bennett are confirmed for the championships on January 11-13.

Event organiser Simon Hollander said it was rare for all seven riders to be in the same event.

''They all have many obligations and commitments at the start of the year, so to have all of them on the start line is very exciting. It's not happened before and I would hazard a guess that it will never happen again.''

Hollander said while this group would be in the early stages of preparing for the European summer season, the lure of the black jersey as national champion would ensure it was a very competitive race.

''All of the domestic riders, including a fantastic bunch of under-23 talent, will all be peaking for this, while the pro riders are just in build-up phase, so they won't have things their own way.''

Changes to the 183.7km course mean there is one less ascent of the Dyers Pass Hill, resulting in a final 20km flat run for the finish. The championship week begins with the time trials from Lincoln College on January 11.

The women's elite road race (120.5km) begins the following day and will comprise eight laps with six climbs of Dyers Pass.