Henderson not riding Tour of Southland
Experienced New Zealand cyclist Greg Henderson will not be gracing the Tour of Southland with his presence in 2017.
The 41-year-old, who retired from professional cycling earlier this year, had previously expressed an interest in returning to the Tour of Southland as a swansong.
However, he will instead be coaching the United States track cycling team at World Cup events this year.
The Otago rider represented New Zealand at five Olympics and four Commonwealth Games, while he also competed in five Tour de France races, and picked up a gold medal on the track at the 2004 world championships in Melbourne and his presence will be missed in the 2017 race.
‘‘Greg Henderson is arguably the greatest cyclist to come out of the south and we were hoping he could cap off an outstanding cycling career at the SBS Tour of Southland. However, some exciting career opportunities have meant Hendy won’t be coming here this year,’’ tour director Bruce Ross said.
‘‘The really exciting thing for us is to look at the 2017 start list, which will be completed soon, and try and predict who the next Greg Henderson, Hayden Roulston, George Bennett or Jack Bauer will be. This is the New Zealand bike race where future grand tour riders are born.’’
Henderson has picked up 16 stage wins on the Tour of Southland, but never finished with the yellow jersey.
He secured his first stage win in 2003 and claimed the overall points classification jersey in 2004, while he last competed in 2010.
The 2017 Tour of Southland starts on Sunday, October 29, and finishes on Saturday, November 4.
Greg Henderson of New Zealand in action during stage six of the Tour of California earlier this year.