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Roulston Closes In On Tour de France Selection

Hayden Roulston. Pic: NZPA
Hayden Roulston. Pic: NZPA

Double Olympic medallist Hayden Roulston will know this week whether he has made the cut to race in the Tour de France that starts in Monaco on 4 July. .
Roulston is one of 12 riders named by the Cervélo Test Team at the weekend to race the season’s second grand tour. The final team of nine will be announced this week.
After a good start at the Amgen Tour of California in February, where he was piped on the line to finish second in stage seven, his progress this year has been hampered with illness and injury.
“It hasn’t been the smoothest of sailings but all in all I have showed I have the strength and the maturity to go the whole way,” he said.
“I’ve seen enough in training to know I can win the world’s biggest races, now it’s about a bit of luck, the right races and I’ll be off. I feel that this year has been ok though, after all Benchmark (South Island elite road series) to the Tour de France is a fair step up so I can’t be too hard on myself.”
His professional team contains several of the world’s biggest names of the sport with last year’s Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre and sprinter and Tour de France stage and Green jersey winner Thor Hushovd on board.
“It’s been a great year to date and Carlos is a super nice guy. It’s nice to have such great leaders in Thor and Carlos. They are both down to earth and great guys who do the best job they can do.”
After California Roulston moved back to Europe to race in the spring classics and build up for team selection for the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, but was unfortunately hit by illness and injury.
Roulston was named in the Giro d'Italia squad for his team but was disappointed at having to pull out due to a foot injury, an inflammation in the fifth metatarsal of his right foot due after a crash in the Paris-Roubaix race.
It meant getting the injury right and refocusing on racing the Tour of Cataluya in Spain where he finished a solid 93rd overall.
Fellow New Zealander Greg Henderson won the sprint on Barcelona's famed Formula One circuit to win the final stage of the Tour to finish 103rd overall.
“Catalunya was a good first race back post classics. I was really pleased with the level I was at considering the amount of intensity I missed due to my injury.”
His foot injury is still not a hundred percent but although he says it’s frustrating, it is being managed and he is looking forward to the prospect on riding in the Tour de France for the first time.
“To be back in the big league is definitely something I am happy about. I always said I would go back and I’m really happy I got the chance.”
“The Tour de France is the biggest race in the world. Every day is an opportunity to be discovered, so (if selected) I will try the best I can.”
Cervélo TestTeam Managing Director Thomas Campana said had it had been “a dream start” to Cervelo’s inaugural season.
“We are looking forward to our first Tour de France and are particularly pleased to have the great Carlos Sastre riding for our team as the Tour’s defending champion. Carlos knows he has the entire team’s support to help him reach his goals. We would also like to win a couple of other stages on the way to Paris and with talents like our top sprinter Thor Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler anything is possible.”
The year the race passes through Spain, Italy and Switzerland before returning to France for the traditional finish in Paris.
The 96th edition of the tour, which covers 3500km, includes 10 flat stages, eight mountain stages, two individual time trails as well as the first team time trial since 2005.
For New Zealanders there is the exciting prospect of two or even three riders in this year’s Tour. Julian Dean has already been selected for his Garmen Slipstream team, Roulston should get the final nod this week and Greg Henderson could also make the cut with his Columbia-Highroad team.

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