Former Dunedin professional Greg Henderson will lead a
national team in a tour in his adopted home of Melbourne next
The Lotto Belisol rider was keen for some extra preparation
for the New Zealand road championships and the Tour Down
Under in Adelaide next month.
The Herald Sun Tour is Australia's oldest stage race,
and has been revived for its 60th anniversary as a four-day
event from January 3-6, on the back of the annual Bay
Criterium series starting on January 1.
Henderson will lead a national team comprising London
Olympian Westley Gough, under-23 riders Josh Atkins and James
Oram, Southlander Tom Scully and Mike Northey.
The tour is no longer a UCI-sanctioned event, meaning
Henderson, as a World Tour rider, could not complete unless
it was for a sanctioned national team.
Tour organisers, keen to get the Melbourne-based star into
the event, contacted BikeNZ with the offer to fully support a
national team for the event.
''It is an excellent opportunity for some of our young guys
to ride themselves into some form in a well-regarded stage
event,'' BikeNZ spokesman Bryan Simmonds said.
''We jumped at the offer. It will be great to have the New
Zealand colours on show in this tour and an excellent riding
opportunity in a prestigious event in this part of the
Henderson is excited to compete in Melbourne, the city where
the Henderson family now lives in the southern hemisphere
''Melbourne is my second home town and when I race around
here I get as many 'Hendys' called out as anywhere else in
the world,'' Henderson said.
''I have a fairly big fan base here now so I feel like it is
home and I enjoy racing in Melbourne.
''The Herald Sun Tour has such a huge prestige. It has
been going for so many years. It has been on and off of late,
and it is a bit shorter which is unfortunate, but it is a
very historic race.
''It's awesome that BikeNZ and the organisers have made it
happen. I don't get to race a lot with the Kiwi boys. It will
be fairly relaxed and we will have a good time and that's
usually how good results come.''
Gough is coming back after a superb track year in which he
won the bronze medal in the team pursuit at the London
Olympics and a bronze in the team pursuit and individual
pursuit at the world championships.
Atkins (Christchurch) won the Tour of Southland last year and
was fourth in the national championships this year, Northey
(Auckland) was the Tour of Southland overall winner a few
weeks ago and Oram (Auckland) is a former world junior
Scully enjoyed an excellent year, including finishing third
in the under-23 Paris Rouxbaix for the Garmin Sharp
development team. He has good history in Melbourne, where he
won the scratch race gold medal at the world cup in 2009, and
the following year won a stage of the Jayco Bay Cycling