At 35 years old, Greg Henderson has amassed an impressive
array of cycling achievements, but is yet to win a national
The five-time Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist
is hoping to finally snare the elusive honour in Christchurch
this weekend, where he'll battle some of New Zealand's best,
including 2007 and 2008 champion Julian Dean, 2006 and 2011
winner Hayden Roulston and 2010 champion Jack Bauer.
Henderson, currently racing for Lotto-Belisol on the world
pro tour, says he realises the challenge ahead over the
12-lap, 183km race but believes he is in winning form.
"The dynamics of the nationals is so different to any other
race. By the last lap everyone is usually on their last legs.
You are in ones and twos," he said.
"If it was a pro tour race, you can predict what will happen
nine times out of 10. But it is a New Zealand bike race and
you are racing against some of the good young talent, club
riders and trade teams who have all peaked for it as well as
some other pros racing as individuals too.
"It is a hard race to control and a hard race to dictate and
a hard race to predict."
Melbourne-based Henderson has a rich pedigree in the sport,
starting on the track with a world title in the scratch race
10 years ago, a stage win in the Vuelta a Espana in 2009
along with six stage victories on the pro tour.
Now specialising as a lead-out rider, Henderson set up German
Andre Greipel for 20 stage wins in 2012, three of them coming
in the Tour de France.
The father of two knows what wearing the national jersey
would mean to him.
"It would be beautiful to be able to wear that black jersey
in Europe. New Zealand is pretty well known now. All of the
Kiwi bike riders who come over to Europe are well respected.
It would definitely be nice and special to wear the jersey in
Europe for sure.
"It's a very prominent jersey too, so if you had the national
jersey sitting in front of Greipel, who is winning stages of
the Tour de France, I guess it is helping put New Zealand on